By Genalyn Kabiling
Any person who uses the government subsidy to buy illegal drugs or engage in illegal gambling and other vices must be prosecuted and brought to jail, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Sunday.
Nograles maintained that the government will not tolerate people violating the laws, including abusive aid beneficiaries.
“Kung assumption niyan qualified naman pala siya, ‘yun lang pumasok siya sa bawal na gamot, wala tayo magawa kundi hulihin ‘yan at ikulong natin. Alam naman natin na bawal ‘yun, bakit niya ginawa,” he said in an interview over DZBB Sunday.
(If the assumption is the person is qualified to receive the aid, but engaged in illegal drugs, we can’t do anything but apprehend and jail the person. We know these are illegal activities, so why did they do it.)
“Ikulong siya, kasi gumamit ng bawal na gamot o ginamit sa bawal na paraan.” (The person must be brought to jail because he used the money to buy illegal dugs or used it in other illegal activities.)
He said persons who violate the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and other laws must be held accountable.
“Kung ano man ‘yung penalties, whether ang gamitin mo ang Bayanihan to Heal as One Act o criminal, revised penal code, or any criminal laws or penal laws, eh di sampahan ng kaso at ikulong,” he said.
(You may slap the penalties under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, Revised Penal Code, or any criminal or penal laws. We can file a case and send the person to jail.)
President Duterte recently threatened to pull out support for subsidy beneficiaries if they are caught abusing the financial aid given to them. He has asked the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to probe reports that some people have used their subsidies to engage in illegal gambling and drinking sessions during the quarantine period.
Amid appeals to show discipline during the quarantine period, Nograles has encouraged people to “police their own” community. He said there should be citizen participation in ensuring compliance with the quarantine protocols for their own safety and health.
The government has repeatedly appealed to the public to follow the stay-at-home policy and other quarantine guidelines to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus disease.
The appeal was made after more than a hundred thousand people have either been arrested, fined, or warned for violating the quarantine protocols in place since March 17.
The Luzon-wide lockdown has been extended until April 30 as the government scales up healthcare efforts in testing, isolation, and treatment of patients. The decision on whether or not to partially or totally lift or extend the quarantine is expected to be discussed by President Duterte and a government task force this week.