MANILA – Malacañang on Thursday disputed claims that President Rodrigo Duterte’s tough stance against the enhanced community quarantine violators resulted in the killing of a former soldier by a police officer at a checkpoint in Quezon City.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this reaction after human rights watchdog Karapatan said Duterte’s “shoot them dead” orders and threats of a martial law-like takeover emboldened the military and police to kill.
Roque clarified anew that Duterte never directed authorities to “kill” violators of ECQ rules amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Last April 3, Duterte said the police and the military are only authorized to shoot anyone who resorts to violence during an arrest.
“Wala pong relasyon ito sa kahit anong sinabi ng Presidente at hindi po sinabi ng pulis na siya po ay pinatutupad ang isang order ng Presidente (This is not related, no matter what the President says and the police officer did not say that he was implementing the President’s order),” Roque said.
He said critics should not immediately relate Duterte’s pronouncement as a basis to shoot troublemakers dead.
“Huwag po nating bigyan ng interpretasyon ang bagay na ito na wala naman pong basehan at all (Let’s not give interpretations to things that have no basis at all). If at all, it’s a speculation, it’s a conjecture, it is not factual,” he said.
Reports showed that at about 2:30 p. m. Tuesday, retired soldier Winston Ragos, who allegedly violated quarantine guidelines, was shot dead by Police Master Sgt. Daniel Florendo Jr. for allegedly attempting to pull out a gun from his bag.
Florendo and four police trainees from the Highway Patrol Group were manning the checkpoint on Maligaya Drive in Brgy. Pasong Putik when Ragos approached the policemen and started shouting and intimidating them, the report said.
The police officers asked Ramos to return home but the victim allegedly attempted to pull out a .38 caliber hand gun from his sling bag which prompted the suspect to shoot Ragos, it added.
In a statement, the Quezon City government said its police department is thoroughly investigating the incident, saying the cops involved will be given a chance to explain their side.
The victim’s family was quoted in reports as saying he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia.
Under Philippine National Police (PNP) operational procedures, during confrontation with an armed offender, “only such necessary and reasonable force should be applied as would be sufficient to overcome the resistance put up by the offender; subdue the clear and imminent danger posed by him; or justice the force or act under the principles of self-defense, defense of relative or defense of stranger.” (PNA)