'Speculation': Palace denies Duterte's 'shoot them dead' remark influenced cop in ex-soldier's slay

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 23 2020 02:16 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday dismissed as "speculation" allegations that President Rodrigo Duterte's remarks influenced a policeman to shoot dead a former soldier in Quezon City.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said there is no basis to link the incident to Duterte's previous remarks ordering police forces and the military to "shoot dead" those who would cause trouble during the coronavirus crisis if the lives of law enforcers are endangered.

"Wala pong relasyon ito sa kahit anong sinabi ng Presidente. At hindi po sinabi ng pulis na siya po ay pinapatupad ang isang order ng Presidente," Roque said in a virtual press briefing.

"So, wag po natin bigyan ng interpretasyon ang bagay na ito na wala naman pong basehan at all."

(This has no relation whatsoever to anything that the President said. And the police officer did not say that he was following an order of the President. So let's not give it interpretation if there's no basis at all.)

"If at all, it's speculation, it's conjecture, it's not factual," he added.

Roque was referring to Duterte's April 1 address where the chief executive said he wouldn't hesitate to order the police and military to shoot troublemakers dead if their lives were endangered while Luzon was on lockdown.

“My orders are sa pulis, pati military, pati mga barangay, na pagka ginulo at nagkaroon ng okasyon na lumaban at ang buhay ninyo ay nalagay sa alanganin, shoot them dead. Naintindihan ninyo? Patay," Duterte had said.

(My orders to the police, military, and barangay officials are, if there is an occasion that they fight back and your lives are endangered, shoot them dead. You understand? Dead.)

The shooting of Private 1st Class Winston Ragos by Police Master Sergeant Daniel Florendo Jr. on Tuesday has caused an uproar on social media as videos, showing different perspectives of the incident, became viral.

Police said a caliber .38 gun was found inside Ragos' sling bag but a witness said the former soldier was unarmed during the incident. 

Ragos' family also said the soldier developed post-traumatic stress disorder after being assigned in Marawi.

"Nakikiramay po kami doon sa retiradong militar na nasawi sa insidenteng ito," Roque said.

(We condole with the family of the former soldier who died in this incident.)

"Nangangako naman po ang Pangulo na magkakaroon ng patas na imbestigasyon dito," he added.

(The President promises a fair investigation on this.)

Both the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army are investigating the incident.