PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Saturday allayed concerns of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on the arrest of quarantine violators, including barangay chairpersons, amid 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 of minimum public health safety standards and quarantine protocols.
“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,” Eleazar said.
“I would also like to reiterate that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) have set guidelines for the arrest of violators of minimum public health safety standards and quarantine protocols by which we will abide,” he added.
The PNP chief issued the statement as President Duterte ordered law enforcers to arrest those not wearing face masks or those who wear them improperly in public places.
The Chief Executive also directed police to arrest 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,” Eleazar said.
“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,” he said.
According to Eleazar, the DOJ and the DILG are expected to issue the guidelines to the PNP regarding the rules arresting quarantine violators soon.