Malacañang on Friday justified President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for authorities to shoot dead people who will employ violence amid government efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Duterte’s spokesperson and top legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the President’s remark, which he delivered on Wednesday after some Quezon City residents staged a protest over lack of food aid, was not illegal.
The President also told leftist groups not to instigate riots as they will be detained while the state of national emergency is in effect.
“Threatening violators and enemies of the state with deathly violence is not a crime,” Panelo said.
“The law allows the use of lethal violence when the person’s life using it hangs on balance. That is a universal law anchored on the principle of self-preservation.”
Panelo warned that any attempt at destabilizing the government and acts meant to derail the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act—the law that gave Duterte additional powers to address the threat of COVID-19—“will be crushed.”
The Palace official made the statement after human rights group Amnesty International on Thursday urged the Duterte administration “to end incitement to violence and protect the right to life and human rights.”
The Commission on Human Rights has also reminded the government that due process and the rule of law still apply during a national emergency.
“Let us educate and disabuse the biased minds of these incorrigible objectors,” Panelo said.
“The President is tasked by the Constitution to enforce it and the laws of the land. Transgressors will suffer the consequences of their violations as imposed by law.” --KBK, GMA News