MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) clarified President Rodrigo Duterte’s “shoot-to-kill” directive against leftists and violators of quarantine protocols, saying that law enforcers will shoot if the violators will fight back.
“Such kind of announcement has always a caveat that if a criminal is armed and the lawman’s life is in danger, then the latter can use reasonable force to subdue the criminal even up to the extent of shooting him,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a text message on Thursday.
Año said Duterte was only “emphasizing that lawless elements must not be allowed to take advantage of the crisis situation by instigating chaos and rioting.”
DILG Spokesman and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya echoed Año statement, saying Duterte’s order is self-defense against unruly protesters during the quarantine period.
“Meaning, if the protesters defy the government’s directive to prohibit mass gatherings as a public health measure and turn violent and place the lives of our peace officers in danger, then the PNP can exercise self-defense and employ deadly force,” he said in another text message.
Duterte said in a public address on Wednesday night, April 1, that leftists and violators who would challenge the government would be ordered shot.
He issued the statement after 20 protesters demanding food aid from the government were arrested in Quezon City for starting a rally without a permit.
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