President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to arrest Filipinos who refuse to get vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is “illegal,” according to Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares.
In a statement, Colmenares stressed that there is no law that makes vaccination mandatory nor there is a law that says Filipinos can go to prison if they do not agree to be vaccinated.
The former lawmaker said Duterte’s “ignorant” legal opinion that even first-year law students would know “surprised everybody.”
“But it’s not only about President Duterte’s ignorance of the law, but also his lack of respect for the law and human rights. Tyrants believe their word is the law,” Colmenares said.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) dismissed as “baseless” Duterte’s threat.
“It has no legal basis. No one should get arrested without committing a crime,” NUPL President Edre Olalia said in a radio interview.
In a televised address on June 21, Duterte threatened to order the arrest of the people who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
He said people should get their COVID-19 jabs or else he might order local officials to collect the “tally” of these potentials carriers of the virus and “sequester” them.
On Tuesday, June 22, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles explained that Duterte was just expressing his “exasperations” when he warned that those refusing to get vaccinated could be arrested.