Quezon City Task Force Disiplina head accused of making trumped-up charges

Published October 21, 2020, 5:38 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The head of Quezon City’s Task Force Disiplina is facing yet another complaint after the restobar which he and his men raided early October accused him of making trumped-up charges during the operation they conducted.

Task Force Disiplina head Rannie Ludovica’s allegation that Packo’s restobar violated the city’s quarantine guidelines by operating even during the curfew hours was denied by the establishment’s camp Wednesday.

“Nangyari ito (operation) 9:39 (ng gabi) at mag-aalas diyes na noong matapos ‘yung ginawa nilang allegedly raid na sinasabi nila. Pero actually po wala siyang makitang health protocol violation ng IATF guidelines, kaya ang i-tinicket nya samin, sa kliyente ko, violation ng public safety hours, which is yung tinatawag na curfew (The operation was conducted at 9:39 p.m. and ended around 10 p.m. But they did not see any health protocol violation, so they just issued us citation ticket for violating the public safety or curfew hours),” Jun Samaniego, Packo’s restobar counsel, said over DZRH interview.

Samaniego said that Ludovica and his men held an operation against his client’s establishment even though it was not yet the start of the curfew hours at 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. In a closed-circuit television footage that the establishment provided to an ABS-CBN report, it showed that Ludovica entered the establishment at 9:39 p.m. timestamp.

“May policy ang restaurant na ang last call namin is 9:30. So pag sinabing 9:30 sasabihan yung guard na wala ng papapasukin na guest kasi nga close na rin ang kitchen… Hinihintay lang po naming lumabas itong mga tao sa loob… eh ginawa po nya (Ludovica) eh di po sya nagpakilala, ang sabi ng aming guard… pilit pong pumapasok, at pagpasok nya ay nagkukuha agad nag picture, that was 9:39 p.m. (We have a policy that we will only accept customers until 9:30 p.m. So we ask our guards to no longer accept customers after that since our kitchen is already closed and we will only wait for the remaining customers to finish. So, what Ludovica did, he did not identify himself and forcibly entered the restobar and took pictures around 9:39 p.m.)” Samaniego said.

The counsel added that after Ludovica took pictures, he went outside again and allegedly called his men to finally conduct the raid. The Task Force Disiplina head even asked the customers, who were about to leave, to return to the restaurant as they were to be issued citation tickets.

“Ang masama dito ay yung mga pauwi na ay pinabalik pa para ticketan (What’s worse is that he even asked the customers to return so he could issue them citation tickets),” Samaniego said.

Ludovica, in a TV Patrol interview, denied accusations made by Samaniego.

“10:15 (p.m.) ako pumasok… so lagpas na ng curfew hours natin (I entered the establishment at around 10:15 p.m., so it’s already curfew hours),” he said, adding that he did not also block the customers from leaving, “Inannounce ko na wala lang pong aalis at ganito lang po, Task Force Disiplina po ito, iimplement lang po namin yung quarantine guidelines (I asked them not to go as we were the Task Force Disiplina, implementing only the quarantine guidelines).”

Sought for comment, Mayor Joy Belmonte stood firm that the operation “took place past 10 p.m.” based on her and Ludovica’s exchange of text messages.

“This is a screenshot to me from Rannie Ludovica with time clearly at 10:30 pm. Rannie always sends me pictures and informs me before he conducts operations on violating establishment,” Belmonte told Manila Bulletin, attaching the screenshot of Ludovica’s text message sent to her at 10:32 p.m. of Oct. 10 to inform her of the operation.

“I don’t know if CCTV cameras can be manipulated. But based on this and others like it, it is clear to me that the operation took place past 10 PM,” she added.

Belmonte even reminded Ludovica that only authorized persons outside of residence or APORs and those with company identification card “can be out past curfew but they should be on the way home na din (as well already).”

Just the same, the mayor said that she “will have the barangay CCTVs checked to validate Packo’s claim.”

In August, Ludovica faced a backlash from several social media users after posting on his Facebook page a “shoot-to-kill” order against quarantine violators. His action was “condemned” by Mayor Joy Belmonte, on behalf of the local government.

Following Ludovica’s post, Sen. Risa Hontiveros called for a legislative investigation into his action. The Department of Interior and Local Government, meanwhile, called his remark “improper and illegal.”

The camp of Packo’s also already filed a complaint before the National Bureau of Investigation against Ludovica for alleged cyberlibel after calling the establishment “The Untouchable” in a Facebook post.