2 lawyers ask Cebu City court to junk IATF Resolution 114

Published June 21, 2021, 4:46 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – Two lawyers have asked a Cebu City Regional Trial Court to declare as “ineffective and inapplicable” in the province of Cebu Resolution No. 114 issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) stipulating the quarantine and testing protocols for arriving Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs).

Cebu-based lawyers Clarence Paul Oaminal and Valentino Bacalso Jr. asked for a 72-hour Ex-parte Temporary Restraining Order after they filed the case against the IATF and its agents which seeks to “cease and desist” the implementation of Resolution No. 114 while Cebu Provincial Ordinance 2021-04 is in effect here.

The two lawyers Monday morning, June 21, filed a “declaratory relief” entitled: “Petition to declare the IATF Resolution 114 as ineffective within the jurisdiction of Cebu Province with a prayer for urgent issuance of temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction” against the national task force.

Named respondent in the case was IATF-MEID led by its chairman and Secretary of Health Fransisco Duque.

IATF Resolution 114, as amended by Resolution No. 116, requires arriving Filipinos to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon their arrival where the first ten (10) days are to be spent in an accredited quarantine facility. An RT-PCR test shall only be conducted on the seventh day from arrival.

On the other hand, Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia’s Executive Order No. 17 issued last March 30, 2021 that was later adopted into Provincial Ordinance 2021-04 allows returning Filipinos to be swabbed upon arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport and, after negative RT-PCR test, they shall be allowed to return to their homes where they can continue the remainder of their quarantine under supervision by the barangay health workers of their locality. They will again be swabbed on the seventh day of the isolation.

“The IATF Resolution No. 114 including its amendments correlative resolutions cannot supplant Cebu Provincial Ordinance Nos. 2021-04 and its amendatory ordinance numbered 2021-05 while they are still valid and effective within the territorial jurisdiction of Cebu for only the Courts can declare these ordinances invalid or the Sangguniang Panlalawigan abrogates or repeals it,” the lawyers added.

“In the hierarchy of things, the Constitution reigns supreme, followed by the laws enacted by Congress then the local ordinances. Rules and regulations issued by the national agencies whether individually or collegially do not have the permeating effects as greater than that of a local law or ordinance. At most, these administrative acts are effective only within the sphere of the national agency or agencies under it or under them for implementation,” they said.

The case supports the governor’s stand that the IATF needs concurrence from the local government units if it imposes health policies six months after the onset of the pandemic.

The governor’s contention is based on Section 105 of Republic Act (RA) No. 7160 or the Local Government Code.