By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has lauded the swift action taken by the Quezon City (QC) government in investigating the human rights violations reportedly committed by members of the mayor’s Task Force Disiplina when they beat up a man due to alleged quarantine violations.
The incident, which took place in front of M Place Condominium along Panay Avenue in Barangay South Triangle, was caught on video and made its way online. The authorities were seen beating up the man using a piece of wood and later dragged the crying man into their vehicle.
The QC government immediately issued a statement after the incident, saying the enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) must always be implemented with “proper decorum and restraint,” adding that their officials must “observe compassion and tolerance, especially in these difficult times.”
For its part, the CHR is pleased with the swift action taken by the local government.
“It is very encouraging that the Quezon City Legal Office recognizes that something wrong has happened and that they will conduct a full-blown investigation into the matter. They are encouraging their people to follow the rule of law and adhere to human rights,” CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in an interview with TV Patrol.
The local government has already preventively suspended for 60 days the men involved in the incident as it conducts its investigation. The man who was reportedly violating the ECQ guidelines will likewise be charged. De Guia said the CHR is ready to provide him with legal aid through their e-lawyering program.
De Guia added that both the public and law enforcement must strike a balance in the observance of the ECQ. She said people must be respectful to the police, while law enforcement must always exercise maximum tolerance.
“We do not discount the sacrifices made by our frontliners, including the local government units as well as the security sector. In fact, we also urge the public to support and cooperate with the ECQ,” she said.
However, in implementing the ECQ, De Guia said a military approach must never be used because the country is currently dealing with a health measure, not a peace and order measure.
Whenever law enforcement authorities face threats to their lives, de Guia said there are laws that should govern them – these are the principles of necessity, reasonableness, as well as proportionality. “We cannot go beyond what the law prescribes,” she said.