The Quezon City local government suspended its officials caught on video mauling and dragging fish vendor Michael Rubuia for failing to wear a face mask and not bringing a quarantine pass while outside.
“Former Councilor Rannie Ludovica, head of Task Force Disiplina, expressed his deep regret and recommended that the said officers be preventively suspended pending the investigation of the case,” the Quezon City local government said in a statement on Wednesday, April 29.
The local government is also dropping its complaint against Rubuia as it proceeds with investigating its officials. This means that Rubuia walks free, and the local government even vows to provide for his needs.
“While the release of Michael is being processed, the City will see to it that his rights as a detainee are rightfully observed and all his basic needs are properly addressed. Quezon City considers the human rights of its citizens as paramount, and any violations thereof will not be allowed or tolerated,” it added.
Rubuia works as a fish vendor along Panay Avenue in Quezon City. The city officials spotted him without a mask and a quarantine pass on Monday, April 27, but he apparently tried to run and held on to a railing so the officials resorted to hitting him with a stick and dragging him off the pavement and onto their van.
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.