“WE CALL on our law enforcers, gawin niyo naman tama, gawin niyong regular ‘yung inyong alituntunin at enforcement. Hindi pwede depende sa timpla ng panahon, timpla ng taong nag e-enforce. We have to understand that this is rule of law, not rule of men.“
Thus, Integrated Bar of the Philippines president Domingo Egon Cayosa took to task police authorities for the “inhumane penalties” imposed on violators of the enhanced community quarantine.
This, in the wake of the killing of retired Army Cpl. Winston Ragos, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, by police in Quezon City last week.
The police have also been strongly criticized for high-handedness in dealing with ECQ violators like trespassing into condominium compound and engaging residents in altercations, as well as in using “brute force” with a foreigner in a posh village.
Penalties imposed on violators have likewise come under fire, as in forced physical exercises or Zumbadancing under the sun, and even lectures in cemeteries.
“Nakakatuwa pag pinapanuod natin pero in the long term, may epekto ‘yan sa ating confidence sa ating government. Mae-erode ang paniniwala sa gobyerno,” Cayosa said of these penalties in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
He warned of a “dangerous vicious cycle” in the imposition of ECQ-related penalties noting that law enforcers deal with violators at whim: “Ang nangyayari kasi wala na, eh kung ano lang ang feeling nung authority. Etong barangay na ito dahil makulit, pinag zumba na lang namin. Kinabukasan matigas ulo, eto binaril ko. Magkakaiba eh. And then we complain, ang titigas ng ulo niyo di kayo nakakaintindi, di kayo sumusunod. Sagot ng taong bayan – ano ang aming susundan?”
Asked the IBP president: “Matatanggap ba natin, na ‘yung may mental defect ‘yung tao, pinagbabaril? Tatanggapin ba natin? Eh ganun, kasi emergency eh?”
Even as he warned: “If the perception, or belief of people, pwede naman mag imbento ngayon kasi emergency remains, or grows, that leads us into trouble. That’s the frame of mind that we wish to avoid.”
And the declaration of martial law is being proffered like the sword of Damocles over the nation’s head. Be afraid. Be very afraid.