Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s shoot-to-kill warning against troublemakers was an “exaggerated and harsh warning.”
“But, coming from this President, what else is new?” said Lacson, who was a former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Having been immersed in intelligence and law-enforcement work for two decades in his previous life, Lacson said he could not help but suggest to authorities to thoroughly investigate if the “riot” in Quezon City involving protesters who violated the enhanced community quarantine in demanding help was indeed a “valid hunger-driven” spontaneous act of people who simply lost their patience out of exasperation.
Lacson also wanted to know if this was just a politically instigated violence by sinister groups out to take advantage and destabilize the administration and duly constituted authority.
Lacson said concerned authorities may opt to look into a possible “dry run” to test public sentiment as well as the ability of law enforcers to respond.
“There is no saying however, that all protests during the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) should be presumed as politically instigated but it cannot be denied that there may be groups with motive to exploit the volatility of the situation to advance their own political agenda,” noted Lacson.
For his part, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa appealed to the leftist groups, especially Kadamay, to stop agitating the poor.
Dela Rosa said COVID-19 knows no boundaries in the political spectrum.
“We should unite and not divide the people. PRRD (Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte) is addressing the delays or favoritism in the distribution of assistance by removing said task from the politicians and giving it to DSWD instead,” said Dela Rosa, former PNP chief.
Senator Joel Villanueva, for his part, said law enforcers should understand that people are agitated because there is no food on the table.
“Let’s address hunger, and there will be lesser social conflict,” he further said.
On the other hand, Senator Francis Pangilinan said instilling fear among people is not the solution to COVID-19 and hunger.
Instead, he said the government should release funds for the hungry people due to the lockdown and the health workers who lack safety gears.
He said the government should address the safety of the people from COVID-19 and the absence of food to eat.
“Stop the bullying which is of no use to resolving the pandemic and hunger,” said the president of the Liberal Party.
PNP chief Director General Archie Gamboa said it would not heed the President’s order as the latter was merely overemphasizing on implementing the law in this time of crisis. He guaranteed the PNP does not condone abuses in implementing the law.
Duterte warned he would not hesitate to have leftists arrested or killed by authorities.
Duterte’s statements came just hours after a group of Quezon City residents protested lack of food assistance from the local government in a rally on EDSA.
They were arrested and dispersed by authorities for violation of the enhanced community quarantine./Stacy Ang