The Philippine National Police (PNP) assured that the rights of quarantine violators, including barangay chairpersons, will be upheld by the police.
The assurance was given by PNP Chief, Police General Guillermo Eleazar, who allayed concerns of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) regarding the arrest of those who will be violating minimum public health standards and quarantine protocols during the pandemic.
The CHR has reminded the PNP that respect for human rights and the rule of law should be the guiding principles when arresting violators.
“I would like to assure the CHR that our personnel are aware of their accountability and responsibility to always abide by police operating procedures and uphold human rights in their operations. May mga mekanismo po kaming nakalatag upang masigurong nasusunod po ng ating kapulisan ang mga protocols,” PGen. Eleazar said.
“I would also like to reiterate that the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior and Local Government have set guidelines for the arrest of violators of minimum public health safety standards and quarantine protocols by which we will abide,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte initially ordered law enforcers to arrest those not wearing face masks or those who wore them improperly in public places.
Just recently, he directed police to nab barangay chairpersons who fail to enforce quarantine protocols in their areas. This came as gatherings, including parties and drinking sessions, became rampant in Metro Manila and in nearby areas.
“Dati naman na po tayong may batas o ordinansa na pinagbabasehan ng mga pagarestong ating ginagawa. Mas pinaigting lang po natin ngayon ang pagpapatupad nito dahil talagang marami pa rin ang pasaway sa ating mga kababayan. Nandito pa din ang banta ng COVID-19 pero heto sila at nagpaparty, nagiinuman, nagsusugal at kung ano-ano pang mass gathering,” PGen. Eleazar said.
According to the PNP Chief, “Maski tayo, as much as possible, ayaw natin ang mang-aresto pero kung ito ang kailangan para masigurong ligtas sa COVID-19 ang ating mga komunidad at matuto sumunod sa minimum public health safety protocols ang ilan nating mga kababayan na may katigasan ang ulo, gagawin nating mang-aresto.”
The Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior and Local Government are expected to issue the guidelines to the PNP sometime soon.