Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he has never ordered the police or military to kill anyone during the enhanced community quarantine introduced because of the coronavirus. (Photo: Ted Aljibe/AFP)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lashed out at left-wing groups who allegedly misrepresented his order to shoot quarantine violators if necessary.
He said he was constrained to talk to the public because of “so many issues and questions being asked from the government.”
He clarified that he had never ordered the police or military to kill anyone out of caprice. He only said what is already stated in law as “standard procedure” for a warrantless arrest.
“The police should overcome the force or resistance being shown by the person being arrested. So, if the one being arrested continuously and repeatedly fights or resists police authorities, the authorities should overcome this resistance,” Duterte said on public television on April 3.
“This is what I meant. If you put the arresting officer’s life at risk, he can overcome your resistance and may fire at you.”
The president also claimed that there will be a lot of arrests and complaints in the coming days, naming Chel Diokno as one of the “lousy lawyers” who he accused of encouraging people to violate quarantine rules.
Diokno is a human rights lawyer and former dean of one of the country’s top law schools. He is also the son of former nationalist lawyer and Marcos activist Jose W. “Pepe” Diokno.
Duterte accused Diokno of supporting illegal public gatherings against the government during enhanced community quarantine imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
He also claimed that his order is in accordance with the United Nations’ human rights standards, but human rights experts are not convinced.
“The standards on use of excessive or lethal force are clear: if you have to shoot, do it to immobilize, not to kill,” said Anthony Custodia, a human rights lawyer.
Custodia quoted UN guidelines saying that the exercise of restraint must be “in proportion to the seriousness of the offense and the legitimate objective to be achieved.”
He also reminded the government that authorities have a duty to minimize damage and injury and to respect and preserve human rights.
Meanwhile, Sorsogon Diocese is calling for flour donations in support of its feeding project during Covid-19 outbreak. Bishop Jose Alan Dialogo baked bread for the poor this week, earning public praise and support.
As of April 3, the Philippines had recorded 3,018 Covid-19 cases with 136 deaths, according to government figures.