By Jeffrey Damicog
The 24-hour curfew imposed in Muntinlupa City is unconstitutional, said Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) chairman Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno.
Dioko pointed this out even if the curfew is part of measures to curb the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Siyempre nakikiusap tayong manatili lahat sa bahay, pero labag na sa Konstitusyon ang ordinansang ito. (Of course we are appealing to the public to stay at home but this ordinance is against the Constitution,” he said in his Twitter account that posted over the weekend.
“Ang ‘24-hour curfew’ (The 24-hour curfew) ay outright denial of the right to travel and freedom of movement,” the human rights lawyer pointed out.
Muntinlupa City passed last Friday, March 20, Ordinance 2020-074 which was approved by Mayor Jaime Fresnedi on Satuday, March 21.
The ordinance was passed after the city’s curfew of 8 p.m.to 5 a.m. was found “not an effective deterrent for the people to stay at home as reported by the barangay chairmen.”
The latest ordinance states that “no person shall be allowed to go out of their respective homes, unless he/she falls under the exemptions provided by laws or ordinance.”
Exempted from the curfew are frontliners and those who render essential services, those who will buy basic commodities (limited to one person per household), peace and order personnel, and emergency cases.
Fellow FLAG lawyer, former Supreme Court (SC) spokesman Theodore Te also opposed the 24-hour curfew imposed by Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino over the elderly and the youth in the Visayas region.
“Unelected Presidential Assistants cannot issue an ‘advisory’, then use the word ‘order’, impose a 24 hour curfew, command PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), and then say the guidelines are for compliance until they are withdrawn,” he said in his Twitter account.