The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday said it is investigating the fatal shooting of a curfew violator allegedly suffering from mental illness in Tondo, Manila.
“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,” CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.
“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 added.
The 59-year-old victim was shot Saturday night by barangay peace and security officer Cesar Panlaqui, who claimed he did it in self-defense.
Citing reports, the CHR said Panlaqui accosted the victim for supposedly slamming doors and gates during curfew hours. The agency said the victim then approached the suspect with a stick, prompting the latter to shoot him.
The curfew violator, who was found carrying toy guns, died on the spot after sustaining a gunshot wound on the chest.
A revolver was recovered from Panlaqui. According to the police, the firearm is not documented and does not have a serial number.
The CHR reminded authorities “that in case of aggression, thwarting it must always be necessary and proportionate to the level of threat and assault.”
“We continuously remind authorities to adhere to human-rights based policing and to respect every individual’s dignity, especially the vulnerable ones, including those with mental health conditions,” de Guia said.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has already ordered the police to look into the incident.
For his part, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police Genera Guillermo Eleazar vowed that the investigation into the incident will be thorough.
In a statement Tuesday, Eleazar also assured the victim’s family that the PNP will hold the suspect accountable.
“Tututukan natin ang kasong ito at makakaasa ang pamilya ng biktima na gagawin natin ang lahat na legal na paraan upang mapanagot ang may gawa nito,” he said.
(We will give this case focus and we assure the family of the victim that we will take all legal means to hold the suspect accountable.)
Eleazar reminded all law enforcers to observe rules of engagement and other operational procedures of the PNP and give maximum tolerance to violators to prevent similar incidents.
Panlaqui is now under the custody of the Manila Police District. —KBK, GMA News