DILG scolds QC official for ‘shoot to kill’ post
MANILA, Philippines — After posting on social media that quarantine violators would be shot dead, the head of Quezon City’s Task Force Disiplina was reprimanded on Tuesday by Interior Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya for his “improper and illegal” statement.
“The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) considers the alleged “shoot-to-kill” threat by [Rannie Ludovica] against quarantine violators in Quezon City as improper and illegal and we advise him to desist from issuing similar statements in the future,” Malaya said in a statement.
He added that local officials “must be circumspect in their social media posts since this may be mistaken by their constituents as official [local government] policy.”
Quarantine rules, according to Malaya, “must be enforced within the bounds of the law,” adding that the DILG would “not tolerate any possible abuse of authority.”
“The penalties to be imposed by local government units against quarantine violators must be within the bounds of their respective ordinances,” he said, stressing that “in imposing discipline, we must also act in a disciplined manner at all times.”
“Mula bukas, shoot to kill na ang lalabag sa MECQ (Starting tomorrow, MECQ violators would be shot dead),” Ludovica said in his Facebook account on Monday, a day before Metro Manila and several provinces reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ). He deleted his post hours later but not before netizens took screenshots and Rappler wrote about it.
Ludovica clarified in a separate post the next day that the city government did not have a shoot-to-kill policy against quarantine violators as he called out the online news site for “maliciously” implying it was a formal order.
Lack of discipline
He said his post stemmed from his frustration over people’s lack of discipline, resulting in an increase in the number of coronavirus cases.
The former city councilor was appointed by Mayor Joy Belmonte to head the civilian force that ensures residents follow government health protocols.
Ludovica figured in another controversy in April, when one of his men was caught on video beating a fish vendor with a stick in front of a condominium on Panay Avenue.
Meanwhile, the head of the Philippine National Police assured the public that there was no such policy against violators as he called on his men to observe maximum tolerance while enforcing quarantine protocols.
“Shoot to kill? There’s none. Maybe it was just meant to emphasize things,” PNP chief Police Gen. Archie Gamboa said at a press briefing.
“Again, my reminder to the police is to exercise maximum tolerance and on the part of the public, to please cooperate so we can meet halfway,” he added.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros, a resident of Quezon City for 35 years, condemned Ludovica and vowed to hold him accountable for inciting violence against civilians.
Hontiveros also called the attention of Belmonte and urged the Commission on Human Rights to investigate Ludovica.
For her part, Belmonte condemned Ludovica’s statement, calling it “inappropriate and irresponsible” but stopped short of saying whether she would sanction him.
—With a report from Mariejo S. Ramos