Quezon City

Joy Belmonte gives ‘shoot-to-kill’ QC official second chance: ‘He apologized to me’

Rambo Talabong

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Joy Belmonte gives ‘shoot-to-kill’ QC official second chance: ‘He apologized to me’
The Quezon City mayor Belmonte is responding to netizens' calls for the dismissal of Ludovica, a longtime ally of the Belmontes

There will be no dismissal or suspension for Quezon City Task Force Disiplina Rannie Ludovica for posting a “shoot-to-kill” threat on his Facebook account.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte gave him a second chance.

In a text message to Rappler on Tuesday, August 4, Belmonte explained that while she found Ludovica’s widely condemned post “appalling” and “unacceptable,” she sees that it was merely a misstep of one of her trusted workers in her administration.

“He apologized to me and he acknowledged his limitations both in language and in controlling his emotions,” Belmonte said.

“I asked him, before passing judgment, why he did it. And he said he was just frustrated that after five months of enforcing health protocols there are still so many who don’t follow,” the mayor explained.

She added: “Given as he is a good worker and he has a compassionate heart for the poor, I decided to give him a chance to redeem himself, and I hold on to the promise he made to me that he shall never do it again.”

Why does this matter?

Belmonte was responding to netizens’ calls for Ludovica’s dismissal from office for acting inappropriately as a public official.

Ludovica is a longtime ally of the Belmontes, sitting as city councilor from the same party as the clan from 2013 to 2019. In 2019, Ludovica was one of the nominees of the Belmonte-linked Serbisyo Para sa Bayan party-list group. It failed to win a seat that year.

In his statement on Tuesday about his post, Ludovica did not apologize for his post about shooting to kill quarantine violators, but blamed Rappler for reporting what he said. (Read Rappler’s response here.)

The Department of the Interior and Local Government stated earlier that Ludovica’s actions were both illegal and improper. In response, Belmonte said the DILG is welcome to file a case against Ludovica.

This is the second time that the Quezon City Task Force Disiplina got embroiled in a controversy during the pandemic. In April, members of the task force were caught on camera beating and dragging a fish vendor who failed to wear a face mask in public. The vendor, Michael Rubuia, has since been released from detention. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.