AN obviously pissed off President Rodrigo Duterte, in his most recent national address, hinted at defying courts over decisions seen in conflict with the government’s existing policies meant to address the coronavirus pandemic.
“I will not obey the courts now in the management of the pandemic. I do not want anybody from any government agency or department messing up with a situation, which is being managed, because it is very dangerous to the country,” said Duterte, in reference to a petition filed by two Cebu-based lawyers before a regional trial court seeking to stop the enforcement of the 10-day quarantine policy for returning Filipino workers in the province.
The President stood by the quarantine rules crafted by the pandemic response team and local health experts as he advised the courts not to issue an order to stop the existing policies.
“Do not release an order or else we will reach an impasse, and I do not want to lock horns with the judiciary,” he said.
“I advise the courts, don’t issue that order. If you issue it, there will be a ruckus. I will just say I am here to protect the people,” Duterte added.
Noting that the existing policies were backed by science, the President justified the importance of requiring all returning Filipinos to undergo swab tests on the seventh day upon their arrival and to observe a 14-day quarantine period regardless of their test results.
Under the rules set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, only those who have been vaccinated in the country can have a shorter quarantine period of seven days upon arrival. Those who received COVID-19 jabs in the country may also skip testing unless they show virus symptoms during quarantine.
The province of Cebu previously required returning Filipinos to undergo COVID-19 tests upon arrival so they can be released from hotel quarantine if their tests yielded negative results, defying the national government’s policies.