MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has clarified that he never directed authorities to “kill” individuals who would violate the quarantine protocols imposed during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
Duterte clarified his recent pronouncement against troublemakers’ attempt to mess with the government amid its fight against the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Addressing the nation late Friday night, he said the police and the military are only authorized to shoot anyone who resorts to violence during an arrest.
“Abogado ako (I am a lawyer). I never said in public, shoot to kill, period,” the President said in a speech aired on state-run PTV-4.
“Hindi ako basta-bastang nagbibitaw ng salita. Sinabi ko (I don’t make statements arbitrarily. I said, do that only) if your life is in danger in arresting a person.”
On Wednesday, Duterte warned that he would order the arrest of people found sowing chaos amid the implementation of the quarantine in Luzon.
He also told the police and military to shoot if quarantine violators offer resistance and violence during a confrontation.
In his latest remarks, Duterte advised those who would get arrested for violating quarantine protocols to just submit themselves to the authorities.
He assured them that they would be freed if the authorities find their explanation “valid.”
“If the police will find your excuse or your reason valid, they have to release you. Otherwise, they can be charged for false arrest,” Duterte said.
He said he had to order the police and the military to go after quarantine violators because the Covid-19 situation in the country would only worsen.
“Kaya pinagbabawal kasi hindi matapos ito. Para maprotektahan ko ‘yung mga inosente na ayaw mamatay (Violating quarantine protocols is not allowed because the health crisis would not end. It is necessary to protect the innocent people who do not want to die),” the President said.
Unfazed by ‘Oust Duterte’ calls
Duterte’s recent pronouncement earned the ire of his critics, prompting them to urge him to step down from office.
The hashtag #OustDuterteNow also became a trend on Twitter following his directives against people who would cause disorder amid the quarantine.
Duterte, however, brushed aside the online calls to unseat him, saying he would only vacate his post if the police and the military tell him to do so.
“It’s always the military and the police,” Duterte said. “Huwag na ‘yang ‘Oust Duterte’ na mga fake news. Doon kayo mag-tutok sa pulis pati armed forces. ‘Pag sila nag-sabi, ‘yun na ‘yun (Ignore the ‘Oust Duterte’ calls that are fake news. Focus on the police and the military. If they say so, then that’s it).” (PNA)