Some 124,576 persons arrested for quarantine violations have been released since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March while 1,751 remain detained for violations of the Revised Penal Code or other criminal offenses, the Department of Interior and Local Government said Sunday.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya explained that the detained suspects will be released as soon as they post bail or ordered by the court to be set free.
“The remaining suspects under detention were not detained since March. The numbers of detained is a moving number, it goes up and down because many are released but some are arrested and charged on a daily basis all over the country,” said Malaya.
Malaya said data from the Joint Task Force COVID Shield submitted to the DILG showed 489,044 persons violated quarantine regulations and curfew rules nationwide from March 17 to Oct. 23.
Of this number, 175,327 or 36 percent were just warned and 189,190 or 38 percent were fined.
Of the 124,527 apprehended, Malaya said that “89,870 or 72 percent were immediately released by the PNP for regular filing while 34,657 were inquested then were sent home after posting bail, for a total of 124,527 released individuals.’’
Malaya said that the 1,751 violators currently detained represent only one percent of the total number of violators of community quarantine regulations.
“Our PNP is unfailingly doing their job to enforce quarantine directives for the safety of all Filipinos and as a measure to stop the transmission of COVID-19. Hindi po sila nagpapabaya at lalong hindi inaabuso ang kanilang tungkulin,” he added.
Since the country is still under various stages of community quarantine, Malaya said the police are duty bound to enforce the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) regulations and local ordinances so apprehensions are done on a daily basis.
He added that many LGUs have passed ordinances imposing curfew, liquor ban, or non-wearing of face masks and shields in their respective jurisdictions, among others, to cut the transmission of COVID-19.
Malaya stressed that many quarantine violators under detention in various facilities nationwide are facing violation of the RPC on resistance and disobedience to a person in authority but can be released on bail or on recognizance if ordered by the courts.
“They are detained for cause, they underwent inquest proceedings before a public prosecutor and they will be released if ordered by the courts,” Malaya said.