By Jeffrey Damicog
Detaining violators in cages meant for animals, making them stand under the sun, do calisthenics, or forced to do community service are among the punishments enforcers of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) shouldn’t be doing.
The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) pointed this out, among others, on Thursday, April 23, as it reminded the government that it should be observing human rights despite the ongoing ECQ.
“Muli, ang karapatan ng taong mabuhay ng may dignidad ay hindi inaalis o pinapawalang-bisa ng isang pandemya (The rights of persons to live with dignity has not been removed nor made ineffective while there is a pandemic),” the NUPL said in legal opinions it posted on Facebook.
“Tungkulin pa rin ng pamahalaan na tiyakin at pangalagaan ang karapatang pantao ng mamamayan sa lahat ng pagkakataon, higit lalo sa panahon ng krisis na malakas ang tukso, pagnanais, o pagkakamali na unahin at pangibabawan ang kapangyarihan (It is the government’s duty to observe and safeguard human rights of its citizens at all times, especially during this crisis when there are strong temptations and urges to give priority to power),” it stated.
The NUPL told the public that “lahat ng kakaparusahan na hindi naman pinapataw sa mga nasabing batas lalo na kung hindi naman saklaw unang-una ng mga batas na ito ay bawal (all punishments not under the law are illegal).”
“Ang mga pisikal o mental tortyur, labis, malupit, nakababa (degrading), makahayop, di-pangkariwang pagpapaparusa o sapilitang paninilbihan ay bawal din (Physical or mental torture; anything excessive, cruel, degrading, inhumane; and unusual punishments or forced service are prohibited),” the group added.
Among those NUPL cited as examples that shouldn’t be allowed include public “show trials”; shame parades; public shaming; and forced admissions during press conferences; pistol whipping and gun pointing; and the lifting coffins and showing pictures of violators in coffins, among others.
The NUPL also indicated that it is also illegal for enforcers of the ECQ to forcibly enter private properties, homes, and backyards without legal basis or warrant.