MANILA - A fish vendor who was caught on video being hit with a stick by a disciplinary task force officer has tested positive for drugs, a Quezon City official said Wednesday.
City councilor and QC Task Force Disiplina head Ranulfo Ludovica said fish vendor Michael Rubuia was immediately brought to Quezon City General Hospital following his arrest last Monday for violating the enhanced community quarantine.
"'Yong nakita ko 'yong tao, sa mata pa lang, alam kong gumagamit na at pina-drug test na agad din namin. Doon namin nakita kaya pala 'di tumatanggap ng katwiran ito, walang paggalang sa tanod dahil high na high siya sa drugs," Ludovica told radio DZMM.
"Base rin sa aktwal na pangyayari, itong taong ito ay pumapalag sa mga tanod. ... Naninipa at nagmumura sa kanila ang taong ito. At napakalakas nitong taong ito," he added.
Viral videos showed at least five men trying to drag Rubuia, 38, for not having a quarantine pass and face mask while selling fish in Panay Avenue Monday afternoon. One of the Task Force Disiplina personnel could be seen hitting Rubuia's hands and feet with a stick.
The Quezon City government earlier said it "shall never condone any acts of violence or violation of human rights, regardless of reason or justification, especially when committed by an official or employee of the city government or any of the city’s barangays."
Those found guilty of breaking the law will face charges, it said.
Ludovica, however, said Task Force Disiplina personnel used reasonable force in arresting the fish vendor.
"'Yong stick na pamalo 'yun 'yong tinatawag kong reasonable force na pagkakataon na para ma-implement ang pag-aresto sa taong ayaw makinig sa mga enforcers. Kawawa rin naman 'yong mga enforcer natin," said.
He said the video showed none of the task force personnel punched or kicked Rubuia.
"May nakita akong labis na pamamalo ng tao ko pero kailangan sa pagkakataong 'yon dahil kung makakapit siya sa railings ganoon na lang eh," Ludovica said.
"Tignan niyong maigi 'yong kuha ng CCTV, walang gumamit ng kamao roon. Walang gumamit ng sipa roon," he added.
The city councilor said the barangay officials involved are now under monitoring and retraining.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Rubuia said he did not want to go with the task force personnel because he did not do anything wrong.
"Bigla silang lumapit, ang sabi, bawal magtinda ng isda. Sabi nila kukunin namin to, kukumpiskahin namin. Sabi ko, bakit mo kukumpiskahin, eh di naman sa'kin 'yan, sabi ko, di pwede," he said.
"Sumagot lang ako na di ako sasama sa inyo. Bakit ako sasama sa inyo, wala naman ako ginagawang masama?" he added.
Rubuia is now detained in Kamuning Police Station with charges of resistance and disobedience to persons of authority.
Commission on Human Rights spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said that they are now reviewing the human rights abuses committed during the enhanced community quarantine.
"When you enforce punishments, which is a consequence of a wrong committed, which we are not against noh, ang sabi lang natin sana in accordance with the law, hindi sumobra, hindi sariling punishment nila, hindi sariling imbento nila," she said.
"Our government as well as our security forces, should always remind themselves that it is a health measure and not a peace and order measure, kailangan maintindihan nila the purpose of the quarantine is to save lives."