CHR, group condemn another killing of quarantine violator

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 10 2021 04:58 PM

Barangay tanod Cesar Panlaqui on August 7 shot dead a 59-year old man, reportedly homeless and suffering from mental illness, who he reprimanded for violating the curfew amid Metro Manila's lockdown. Manila Police District
Barangay tanod Cesar Panlaqui on August 7 shot dead a 59-year old man, reportedly homeless and suffering from mental illness, who he reprimanded for violating the curfew amid Metro Manila's lockdown. Manila Police District

MANILA — The killing of another quarantine violator in the hands of a law enforcer was "condemnable and deeply concerning," the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Tuesday, as it launched an investigation into the incident that took place just a day after the capital region went into the strictest coronavirus lockdown. 

Barangay tanod Cesar Panlaqui on Saturday shot dead a 59-year old man, reportedly homeless and suffering from mental illness, who he reprimanded for violating the curfew amid Metro Manila's lockdown.

The victim allegedly approached the barangay tanod with a stick, prompting Panlaqui to shoot him in the chest, leading to his death.

"We reiterate our stern reminder that in case of aggression, thwarting it must always be necessary and proportionate to the level of threat and assault," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in a statement. 

De Guia noted Saturday's incident was not the first time law enforcers have been accused of using excessive force against quarantine violators, with some leading to their deaths. 

Last May, a man with autism was shot dead by a policeman during a supposed raid of an illegal cockfighting session. A month prior, a curfew violator died in Laguna after he was allegedly beaten by a barangay tanod.

Last year, retired soldier Winston Ragos, who had post-traumatic stress disorder, was shot dead by policemen at a quarantine checkpoint in Quezon City.

"It is condemnable and deeply concerning that a quarantine violator died again in the implementation of quarantine protocols, which is reminiscent of deaths of violators in last year's ECQ implementation," De Guia emphasized.

She reminded the government that the COVID-19 pandemic is not a "peace and order agenda" that necessitates violence. 

"The Commission has repeatedly stressed throughout the ongoing pandemic that this is a health crisis, not a peace and order agenda. Employing force will not eliminate the virus, but may instead further imperil and harm lives, which the quarantine rules is supposed to protect," she said.

Meanwhile, labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) deplored the killing amid the "militarist lockdown" being implemented by government.

"Nakakarimarim. Ganito talaga ang mangyayari kung 'shoot them dead' ang utos ng Pangulo para sa mga lalabag sa curfew at iba pang protocols," said Jerome Adonis, KMU's secretary general.

(This is revolting. This is what happens when the president orders police to shoot dead violators of protocols.)

KMU also highlighted the plight of the homeless during lockdowns.

"Ang mga homeless po ay kababayan natin. Apektado rin sila ng pandemya at krisis... Ang gobyerno ang nagkulang, kaya dapat ayusin nila ang sarili nila at ibigay ang nararapat sa mamamayan," Adonis said. 

(They are Filipinos too, affected by pandemic. The government must get its act together and give the homeless people what they need.)

The Manila Police District has already prepared a murder complaint against Panlaqui. 

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