No law yet to punish one’s refusal to get COVID-19 vaccination – IBP

Published June 23, 2021, 4:55 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)

Those who refuse the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination cannot be arrested, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) President Domingo Egon Q. Cayosa said on Wednesday, June 23.

Cayosa reacted to President Duterte’s threat that those who refuse vaccinations will be jailed.

He said that since there is no law yet punishing persons who refuse to be vaccinated, “there is no legal basis for arrest.”

Last Tuesday, June 22, Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said the President has no intention of jailing those who refuse to get vaccinated.

“I believe that the President merely used strong words to drive home the need for us to get vaccinated and reach herd immunity as soon as possible,” her said.

“As a lawyer he knows that not getting vaccinated is a legal choice; and there is no law as yet that compels vaccination against COVID-19, much less criminalizes it, as presently available, vaccines are still in their trial phases,” he stressed.

On the other hand, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on Wednesday, June 23, the Constitution gives the President the legal basis to make the arrest.

Panelo said: “We are in a state of national emergency due to the deathly pandemic. Drastic times demand for drastic measures. The Constitution has given sufficient authority to the government to manage the crisis even as it works vigorously towards achieving herd immunity while our people look forward to reaching it.”