Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Tuesday condemned the shoot-to-kill threat made by the city's Task Force Disiplina head Rannie Ludovica against quarantine violators.
"We condemn the statement of the head of the Task Force Disiplina. It is wrong. It is inappropriate. It is irresponsible, and I would like to stress that he posted it in his Facebook account and it’s personal,” Belmonte told reporters.
However, Belmonte said she understood Ludovica's sentiments. She had spoken with the official and she learned that Ludovica was frustrated with Quezon City residents who continued to violate quarantine protocols despite the continuing reminders from law enforcers.
"Mr. Ludovica told me that his statement came as a result of his frustration. He was frustrated because we have been reminding our people for five months to wear a mask, not to leave their homes and not to play basketball, not to drink alcohol and not to sing in a karaoke, but we are still seeing those things,” Belmonte said.
She made her statement even as Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya slammed Ludovica’s shoot-to-kill threat as “improper and illegal."
"We advise him to desist from issuing similar statements in the future,” Malaya said.
“While we strongly believe that discipline is one of the preventive measures to stop the transmission of the coronavirus disease, this must be enforced within the bounds of the law and the DILG will not tolerate any possible abuse of authority on the part of law enforcement agencies or enforcement units of local government units.”
Deputy Speaker and Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez, meanwhile, urged the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and the National Task Force on COVID-19 to consider launching a “shame and fame campaign” to fight the coronavirus.
“It’s high time we started a ‘shame and fame campaign’ as a weapon in this difficult fight against COViD-19. I appeal to government and the public to join hands in pursuing this drive,” Fernandez said.
Belmonte said Ludovica had admitted that while his sentiments were supposedly valid, the manner by which he expressed them was wrong. She said Ludovica promised not to commit the same mistake.
"He took back his post and he promised not to repeat what he has done,” Belmonte said.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Palace had adopted Belmonte’s position and condemned Ludovica’s statement.
“We can only adopt and thank Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte for her stand on this issue,” Roque said in a televised briefing.
He reiterated the government’s call for the citizens to stay home, wear masks, wash their hands often and observe social distancing.