MANILA – Malacañang reminded local officials to act within the bounds of the law when reprimanding violators of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed until May 15 to stop the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after a fish vendor who was not wearing face mask and has no quarantine pass while selling outdoors was beaten and dragged by members of the Oplan Task Force Disiplina of Quezon City.
“Nananawagan ako sa lahat ng ating mga tagapagpatupad ng ECQ, kinakailangan po ay gawin natin ‘yan sang-ayon sa batas (I am calling all ECQ implementers, all protocols should be carried out within the bounds of the law),” Roque said in an interview over GMA’s Unang Hirit on Wednesday.
Earlier, the Quezon City government said it is “strongly considering” suspending and filing administrative complaints against members of the Office of the Mayor’s Task Force Disiplina.
Roque expressed confidence that investigation on the incident would be partial and fair and proper penalty will be meted in case there is a violation on the part of barangay officials.
“Itong insidente po sa Quezon City ay naniniwala naman po ako na iimbestigahan ng patas ‘yan ni Mayor Joy Belmonte at papatawan ng parusa ang mga barangay official kung napatunayan na nagkasala sila (This incident in Quezon, I believe that it will be investigated fairly by Mayor Joy Belmonte and barangay officials found guilty will be penalized),” he said.
Roque earlier assured the public that the government will not condone any human rights abuses amid the implementation of ECQ.
He said concerned government agencies would act on the alleged violations of human rights once they receive formal complaints.
Based on video footage, members of the task force were seen hitting a vendor with a piece of wood and dragging him towards a vehicle for not wearing a face mask.
Quezon City legal officer Niño Casimiro said the vendor was brought to a government hospital for a medical checkup. Based on the medico-legal report, the victim had “abrasions.”
The Commission on Human Rights and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers have stressed that human rights must be upheld during the ECQ period which is expected to lapse on May 15.
Meanwhile, Roque also urged police, military, and local officials at checkpoints to allow the unhampered passage of basic necessities such as food, medicine and medical supplies.
“Bagama’t alam po natin mga panuntunan ay kinakailangan naman po meron tayong case to case basis. Yung mga nangangailangan ng atensyon medikal ay palusutin na po natin dahil gamitan naman po natin ng common sense (Although we know the rules, we have to see this on a case to case basis. Those who need medical attention should be allowed to pass through. Let’s use our common sense),” he said.
On Sunday, a delivery van carrying medical oxygen tanks was barred by a purok leader from exiting a checkpoint in Quezon City.
Based on the video uploaded on Facebook by Gina Romanos, the supplier, she and her live-in partner showed a quarantine pass and their Department of Trade and Industry, Bureau of Internal Revenue and mayor’s permits to be able to pass through the checkpoint in Zytec Riosa Compound in Barangay Pasong Tamo but purok leader Noel Talon still stopped them from leaving.
Romanos said the purok leader told them that they are still not authorized to operate and to travel amid the enhanced community quarantine.
With the help of some barangay officials, Romanos said they were able to pass through and successfully deliver the oxygen tank to the patient.
Romanos, whose family has been a supplier of medical oxygen tanks for 10 years, said they will file respective charges against the purok leader. (PNA)