The warrantless arrest of at least five Filipinos who made implausible online death threats against President Rodrigo Duterte has sparked allegations of police abuse and raised fears of a crackdown against citizens who may be acting out during the coronavirus quarantine.
On May 11, National Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Ronnel Mas, a 25-year-old public school teacher who had tweeted that he would pay 50 million pesos (S$1 million) to anyone who would assassinate the president.
On May 12, police in the southern province of Cebu arrested Maria Ceron, 26, for offering 75 million pesos for a hit job on Duterte. And on May 19, police arrested a young man, who was not named, for writing on Facebook: “200 million to anybody who kills Duterte. Bring me his head here in my barangay (village).”
Observers have said the arrests are “illegal”, while doctors have called for more understanding of people making outlandish statements while under quarantine.