By Jeffrey Damicog
Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento assured the public on Friday (March 20) that prosecutors nationwide are on call to conduct inquests of those arrested for defying quarantine measures to avert the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“We are in place all over the country,” Malcontento said.
The prosecutor general made the assurance amid reports that those arrested could not post bail due to the absence of prosecutors to conduct inquests including that of Manila.
“A total of 26 inquest cases were handled by said Inquest Prosecutors yesterday and as of this writing, are being acted upon for final approval by the Chief of the Inquest Division,” Malcontento said.
“What happened in Manila yesterday was a minor procedural issue with MPD (Manila Police District) brought about by Manila lockdown,” he explained.
Malcontento added that the Manila local government also issued an advisory for a work-from-home arrangement that was also directed to the Manila Prosecutor’s Office, since it is located in the Manila City Hall and its support staff is under the local government.
Manila Chief Inquest Officer Jovencio Senados that those arrested were homeless persons and vendors.
He added that those arrested were charged for violating the city ordinance on curfews and for resistance and disobedience to a person in authority under Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code.
Senados said those arrested were immediately released following inquest whether there was probable cause or not to file charges in court.