THE arrest of quarantine violators, especially those not properly wearing their face masks, would generally be made under local ordinances.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra reiterated this on Tuesday shortly after the Justice and Interior departments signed the joint guidelines on the arrest and detention of violators of COVID-19 safety measures, particularly those who do not wear face masks or not wearing them properly.
“For effecting arrests or taking custody of persons, our law enforcers shall be guided principally by the local health and quarantine ordinances of the LGUs (Local Government Units) concerned. Note that these local ordinances are not uniform in cities and municipalities.”
“As I said, not all ordinances are the same. Some ordinances impose an administrative fine or community service to avoid criminal prosecution. For ordinances that impose a penalty of imprisonment, the violator will be brought to the DOJ inquest prosecutor and will be detained until the complaint is resolved by the prosecutor, ” Guevarra said.
Guevarra added that LGU officials including barangay leaders remiss of their duties particularly stopping superspreader events in their jurisdictions shall be administratively liable under the joint guidelines.
“For LGU officials who neglect to enforce public health regulations, they may be help administratively liable under the Local Government Code for neglect of duty, and even criminally liable under the Revised Penal Code for dereliction of duty,” Guevarra said.
Just recently, President Rodrigo Duterte instructed the police to arrest people who do not wear their anti-virus masks properly.
“My orders to the police are, those who are not working their masks properly, in order to protect the public . . . arrest them and detain them, investigate them why they are doing it,” Duterte said in a taped speech.
“‘Pag hindi ko ganunin, hindi ko higpitan, walang mangyayari . . . Ako dito hirap na hirap, pawala na iyong pera natin sa bangko tapos sige pa rin kayo, galaw nang galaw d’yan nang hindi tama, mapupunta talaga kayo sa istasyon.”
Duterte also said barangay chairpersons may be arrested for dereliction of duty for neglecting their mandate of ensuring that quarantine protocols are being observed in their areas particularly social distancing.