The Philippine National Police on Wednesday confirmed that a police officer in Cebu City hit a quarantine violator with a paddle.
Today, a photo of a porter carrying cargo in the Carbon Public Market, Cebu City trended online after PCPL Nickson Miranda hit him with a paddle on February 8, 2021.
In an earlier interview with PSN, PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Idebrandi Usana that they have already talked to the city director of Cebu and disarmed the suspect, while the administrative investigation is underway.
“Violation po ‘yun ng RA 9745, ‘yung Anti-Torture law po. Criminal po ‘yun ah. Sa administrative naman ho, that is serious misconduct po [at conduct unbecoming of a police officer],” said Usana.
“Actually, ni-request na rin po nila ‘yung biktima na makapunta po sa police station para makunan po ng statement. Kakasuhan po nila motu propio po itong si… Miranda po.”
The incident happened two months after Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield chief Police Lt. Gen. Cesar Binag said authorities would beat violators using a rattan stick.
That is even though Usana had said before that PNP chief Gen Debold Sinas did not have a policy on beating quarantine violators.
Cop hits quarantine violator with a paddle in Cebu City
“He [Miranda] has already been relieved pending result of precharge [investigation] of the city internal affairs division on his case,” the PNP spokesperson added.
“He was disarmed and placed at the admin [office] while his case is being processed.”
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) criticized in December Binag’s threat that quarantine violators would be struck with a rattan stick.
According to CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia, this is not the best solution as COVID-19 is ravaging the Philippines.
“[W]e wish to caution the government against unnecessary use of force and actions that may lead to humiliation and trauma. Violence, even in its slightest suggestion, is not the best way to address the pandemic,” she said.
“We recognize that the unknown nature of the pandemic has pushed others, including the government, into devising different, novel ways in enforcing health safety protocols so as to prevent COVID-19 infection among the population. However, the [CHR] has repeatedly stressed the importance of respecting the human rights and dignity of all as we address this health crisis.”