Lapu-Lapu City ordinance allows citizen’s arrest to enforce mandatory wearing of masks

CEBU CITY – People not wearing masks in public areas in Lapu-Lapu City can now be apprehended through citizen’s arrest.

The exercise of citizen’s arrest was allowed after the Lapu-Lapu City Council approved an amendatory ordinance meant to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the city.

The council assured that safety nets were in place to ensure that the measure will not be abused.

Under Ordinance 15-084-2020, individuals will be allowed to remove their masks in public places for 15 minutes to drink or eat.

A citizen’s arrest can be effected after those 15 minutes are over, and it must be done within an hour after the violation was committed.

First time violator will be fined P1,000. Second offense carries a P2,000 penalty, while third and subsequent offenses carry a fine of P3,000.

Those who will refuse to pay the fine will be jailed for 10 days for first offense, 15 days for second offense and 30 days for multi-offense.

Police Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, chief of the Police Regional Office Central Visayas, backed the passage of the ordinance in Lapu-Lapu.

“It’s good that people are helping us because I have been saying the problem about COVID-19 is not only the responsibility of the police, military, local government units and healthy worker. This is every Filipino’s responsibility. We need a lot of ideas as long as these ideas will not be abused,” Ferro said.

Ferro emphasized that citizen’s arrest was allowed under the Constitution.

“If a crime is being committed in front of you, then you can implement a warrantless arrest. Bring the offender to the police station and it will be the police who will file the case,” said Ferro.