Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo has appealed to barangay officials to avoid acting like “little tyrants” while enforcing health protocols against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in their communities.
According to Panelo, local officials should not use excessive force in implementing quarantine rules and impose cruel punishment on violators.
The Palace official made the statement after expressing concern over the deaths of two alleged quarantine violators while authorities were enforcing strict lockdown rules to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases.
“Hindi ito puwede. Hindi ko rin maintindihan ang ibang kababayan natin, ‘yung mga barangay tanod na ‘yan pag nabibigyan ng kapangyarihang, hay naku mga tyrants (This cannot be allowed. I don’t know why some of our countrymen, the village officials when they are given power, they become tyrants). They have become little tyrants in their own little kingdoms,” Panelo said during his “Counterpoint” program Wednesday, April 14.
“Hindi puwede ‘yan. Si Presidente Duterte galit na galit sa oppression (It cannot be allowed. President Duterte is enraged with oppression). He’s outraged by that,” he added.
Panelo noticed that some local officials were too strict in enforcing curfews and other quarantine rules to the detriment of the people.
Instead of using force, he suggested that local officials can deploy sound vehicles equipped with loudspeakers reminding people about the health protocols.
“Tinatawagan natin mga barangay kapitan, mga mayors pag nagpapatupad ang mga tao ng curfew or pati ng pagpapa-iral ng mga health protocols, mga nahuhuli natin hindi nagsusuot ng face masks, face shield o hindi nag-observe ng social distancing, huwag natin gamitin sa dahas (We appeal to the village captain, mayors, when your people enforce curfew and other health protocols, when you catch people not using face masks, shields or not observing social distancing, do not use force),” he said.
Panelo said mayors could form a small group that will go around the community with the public address system. He said the roving team can issue the “constant reminder” to the people about compliance with health protocols.
An alleged curfew violator, identified as Ernanie Jimenez, died in the hospital due to serious injuries after he was allegedly beaten by two barangay security officials following a brief chase last week. The police was reportedly preparing a homicide case against the two village officials.
Darren Peñaredondo, another alleged curfew violator, also died after the police supposedly forced him to perform strenuous exercises in General Trias, Cavite early this month. The cops involved were reportedly relieved from their posts.