Fish vendor sustains injuries after being beaten by bgy, task force officials

Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 29 2020 07:06 AM

A fish vendor sustained several wounds and abrasions in various parts of his body after being mauled by barangay officials of South Triangle in Quezon City.

Viral videos showed at least five men trying to drag Michael 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. 

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.

Asked if he will be pressing charges against the barangay officials and Task Force Disiplina, the vendor said he will prioritize getting out of jail.

"Ilabas nila ako dito, ayaw ko pong makulong, di ko naman alam ano kaso ko sa kanila eh. Ako nagtatrabaho lang ako, hanggang extra extra lang ako sa sarili ko," Rubuia said.

A private citizen has expressed willingness to bail Rubuia out of jail.

The incident happened less than a week after a former Army officer was shot dead by a police officer for alleged violation of the enhanced community quarantine. 

The officer in charge of QCPD Station 10 said they are investigating the matter.

The videos reveal that Rubuia was not wearing a mask during the time of his arrest. 

Police Lt. Col. Lucio Simangan of Station 10 claimed Rubuia resisted arrest and even attempted to escape.


In an earlier interview, the chairman of Barangay South Triangle said some condominium tenants have complained of the increasing number of ambulant vendors in the area.

A resident living nearby, where Rubuia sold fish, disputed this statement.

"Sally" (not her real name for security), who also witnessed the mauling, told ABS-CBN News that Rubuia's stall even helped residents get fish without having to go to the market.

"Mabait naman po siya. Wala naman kaming ano sa kanya. Kapag nagtitinda siya ng isda diyan, tahimik naman eh. Maayos naman siya nagtitinda ng isda, maayos kausap," Sally said.

In the video, several people could be seen asking barangay officials to stop beating Rubuia.

"Sana naman kahit may kasalanan 'yung tao hindi nila pinalo ng pinalo. Kahit saang anggulo tingnan, mali ginawa nilang pamamalo kay kuya," she added.


Sentro, a local group of laborers, condemned the mauling. "We are gravely concerned over this growing pattern of abusive behavior among security forces, obviously emboldened by the authoritarian mindset that’s now pervading the lockdown mentality of government." 

The group also called on the local government of Quezon City to punish "those found to have used excessive force."

"We also demand that the Oplan Task Force Disiplina issue a public apology to Michael Rubuia and foot the bill for all his medical expenses." they added.

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. 

"All its personnel and agents are strongly reminded to always conduct themselves with proper decorum and restraint, and to observe compassion and tolerance especially in these difficult times."

Sentro urged local government units to train their security forces on how to properly handle quarantine violations.

The Commission on Human Rights has also expressed support for Rubuia.