Jul 16, 2020

In response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the area, Quezon City LGU will be intensifying its enforcement of health measures. Part of this is a new set of guidelines on the warrantless apprehension and arrest of quarantine violators.

On July 13, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte released a memorandum titled “Guidelines on the Warrantless Apprehension and Arrest of Violators of Quarantine Measures Within the Territorial Jurisdiction of Quezon City During The Periods of General Community Quarantine and Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).”

The memorandum notes that warrantless arrests can be made by a peace officer or a private person if they catch anyone violating health-related ordinances on the prevention of mass gathering, social distancing measures and wearing of face masks, among others. Arrests may also be carried out if an officer “has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it.”

Arrested persons will be brought to the nearest police station for booking procedures and to the nearest government or city-run hospital for medical and physical examinations before proper investigations can commence.

In line with Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases Act, violators will be fined P20,000 to P50,000 or imprisoned for not less than a month but not over six months. At the discretion of the proper court, they may even face both penalties.

Lawyers, however, have noted that the memorandum has no legal basis. According to the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers president Edre Olalia, RA No. 11332 only covers government agencies and health personnel who fail to issue alerts on infectious diseases or to people who test positive for COVID-19 but fail to obey authorities.

“Anumang ordinansa na ilalabas ng LGU, kailangan mayroong salalayan o batay din sa isang batas na aplikable. Sa insidente pong ito, hindi po aplikable iyong [Republic Act] 1132,” Olalia said.

 

Header photo by Grig Montegrande for Inquirer.net

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