No zombie parade: Silay police denies intention to humiliate quarantine violators, walk done to ensure distancing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 9)— The police chief of Silay, Negros Occidental on Tuesday said he had no intention to humiliate quarantine violators in the town, saying the “zombie” walk caught on camera was done to ensure distancing.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Silay Police Chief Maj. Rollie Pondevilla explained that the violators — seen on video lined up on the street with both arms extended forward — were being brought to a covered court near the station. He said the order to lift the arms was only a “preventive measure” to ensure space between the individuals.

Hindi naman talaga parusa iyon sa kanila –- preventive measure lang iyon na pinapa-hands forward natin para mame-maintain nila physical distancing papunta doon sa covered court,” Pondevilla told The Source, adding the clip may be subject to misinterpretation.

Ang intention ko lang naman talaga is para naman sa kapakanan nila… wala akong intention na ipahiya po sila,” he stressed.

[Translation: It’s not actually a punishment for them, it was a preventive measure, making them keep their hands forward so they can maintain physical distancing going to the covered court. My intention really was for their welfare… I had no intention to humiliate them.]

The alleged “zombie parade” drew flak from netizens and even government officials, with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon slamming the local police for the “unnecessary” order.

“Too much TV. I urge our police to do away with ‘theatrics’,” Drilon said in a statement on Monday. “If they believe a violation is committed, then file charges in accordance with our existing laws.”

The Commission on Human Rights said it would also be looking into the report. It also urged law enforcers to consider human rights in their implementation of policies, “including respect for every person’s dignity.”