DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary for barangay affairs Martin Diño on Wednesday, April 29, said local government officials should exercise maximum tolerance and due process of the law in implementing enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols.
"Una sa lahat meron tayong ano diyan, meron tayong batas pero hindi mo dapat saktan, 'yan na nga 'yung inaano natin sa mga barangay ngayon. Kailangan 'yung... proseso pa rin ng batas ang ating gagawin diyan," he said in a radio interview.
"In the event na lumaban 'yan, that's the time na puwede mong ipagtanggol ang iyong sarili, maliwanag tayo diyan...Kailangang arestuhin kasi may batas na dapat ipatupad eh. Kailangan talaga maximum tolerance ka pa rin diyan," he added.
Diño was reacting to the mauling Michael Rubia, 38, a fish vendor along Panay Avenue in Barangay South Triangle in Quezon City, near MPlace Condominium.
Rubia was repeatedly struck, pulled and dragged to a barangay vehicle by at least five members of the Quezon City Task Force Disiplina on Monday afternoon.
Videos of the mauling were circulated online.
In a television interview, Rubia said the barangay officials approached him and told him they were confiscating his merchandise.
"Bigla silang lumapit, ang sabi, bawal magtinda ng isda. Sabi nila kukunin namin ‘to, kukumpiskahin namin. Sabi ko, bakit mo kukumpiskahin, eh di naman sa 'kin 'yan, sabi ko, ‘di pwede," he said.
"Sumagot lang ako na ‘di ako sasama sa inyo. Bakit ako sasama sa inyo, wala naman ako ginagawang masama?" he added.
Diño said charges of grave abuse of authority may be filed against the task force members before the Office of the Ombudsman, city council or any regular court.
"Kaya nga dapat mag-ingat ngayon dahil ang daming mata, pag nakuhanan ka ng video, paano mo ipagtatanggol sarili mo eh video 'yan," he said.
Rubia, however, said he will consider pressing charges against the task force members only after he is released from detention.
He said he believed that he did not commit any offense.
"Ilabas nila ako dito, ayaw ko pong makulong, di ko naman alam ano kaso ko sa kanila eh. Ako nagtatrabaho lang ako, hanggang extra extra lang ako sa sarili ko," he said.
In a radio interview, Quezon City Task Force Disiplina head Ranulfo Ludovica said Rubia was turned over to the police for proper disposition.
Ludovica, who is a city councilor, said Rubia was also brought to the Quezon City General Hospital for medical examination.
He said the fish vendor tested positive for illegal drugs.
"'Yong nakita ko 'yong tao, sa mata pa lang, alam kong gumagamit na at pina-drug test na agad din namin. Doon namin nakita kaya pala 'di tumatanggap ng katwiran ito, walang paggalang sa tanod dahil high na high siya sa drugs," he said.
"Base rin sa aktwal na pangyayari, itong taong ito ay pumapalag sa mga tanod. ... Naninipa at nagmumura sa kanila ang taong ito. At napakalakas nitong taong ito," he added.
The official defended the involved personnel, saying that they used “reasonable force” to arrest Rubia.
He maintained that they only used the stick to pacify the suspect.
"'Yong stick na pamalo 'yun 'yong tinatawag kong reasonable force na pagkakataon na para ma-implement ang pag-aresto sa taong ayaw makinig sa mga enforcers. Kawawa rin naman 'yong mga enforcer natin," said Ludovica.
"May nakita akong labis na pamamalo ng tao ko pero kailangan sa pagkakataong 'yon dahil kung makakapit siya sa railings ganoon na lang... Tignan niyong maigi 'yong kuha ng CCTV, walang gumamit ng kamao roon. Walang gumamit ng sipa roon," he added.
The barangay personnel involved in the incident were placed under monitoring and ordered to undergo retraining following the incident.
The Quezon City Government said it has launched an investigation on the incident.
Meanwhile, Commission on Human Rights spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said they are now reviewing the human rights abuses committed during the implementation of ECQ policies.
"When you enforce punishments, which is a consequence of a wrong committed, which we are not against noh, ang sabi lang natin sana in accordance with the law, hindi sumobra, hindi sariling punishment nila, hindi sariling imbento nila," she said.
"Our government as well as our security forces, should always remind themselves that it is a health measure and not a peace and order measure, kailangan maintindihan nila the purpose of the quarantine is to save lives," she added. (SunStar Philippines)