A Quezon City (QC) official explained in a statement posted to Facebook on Tuesday that his threat to “shoot-to-kill” MECQ violators was misconstrued by the media and is not an actual protocol they’ll be imposing in the city.

QC Task Force Displina chief Rannie Ludovica claimed that the now-deleted Facebook post where he made the threat was a “personal” message and does not reflect the disposition of Quezon’s local government.

“Nagmula ang nasabing personal na Facebook post ng inyong lingkod sa aking pagkadismaya sa pagbalik natin mula sa GCQ to MECQ. Patuloy na tumataas ang bilang ng COVID-19 sa lungsod at buong bansa dahil sa kawalan ng disiplina ng karamihan,” Ludovica said.

Ludovica’s statement was in response to Rappler’s article on his threat, which he accuses of “maliciously” misconstruding his Facebook post to make it seem as though the protocol had been formally decreed by the city’s administration.

While Rappler highlighted Ludovica’s position as the chief of the city’s civilian action force and the group’s history of violence, there was no mention of the “shoot-to-kill” protocol being imposed by the Quezon City government.

“Walang basis ang sinabi ni Ludovica. Parang mali rin yung conclusion na in-accuse siya ng Rappler na ‘yun yung policy ng Quezon City. Objective ang pagkakareport, di naman dinagdagan ng Rappler ng falsity so it’s a protected speech,” Socrates Tomas, an attorney, commented on the issue in an interview with PressOne.PH.

“As the chief from the QC task force, he is a public officer and when a statement [is] mentioned in public criticizing a public officer, there is no presumption of malice. So unless mapatunayan ni public officer na there’s no other purpose in reporting such a thing… di magiging liable for libel yung Rappler,” Tomas added.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte condemned Ludovica’s statement during a press briefing on Tuesday, claiming that it is uncharacteristic of the city’s principles which she claims to be “one of the human rights capital of the country.”

Belmonte said that Ludovica has already apologized to the city government for his statement.

“Wala po siyang masamang intensyon pero aminado po siya na while his feelings might be valid, ang kanya pong paraan para maipalabas ang kanyang damdamin ay mali… Binawi na po niya ang post at nangako na po siya na hindi na po uulitin ang kanyang ginawa,” the mayor said.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya also warned Ludovica not to say similar remarks in the future saying that the country’s health protocols “must be enforced within the bounds of the law.”

“The DILG will not tolerate any possible abuse of authority on the part of law enforcement agencies or enforcement units of local government units,” Malaya said in a statement.

Last April, Task Force Dispilina also caught flak for a video that went viral on social media where members of the committee were seen dragging and beating up a fish vendor that did not have his quarantine pass and mask on.

The QC officials involved in the incident have since been dismissed. Carlito P. Topacio