Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra on Monday, August 9, reminded law enforcers on the established processes in the apprehensions of violators of health and safety protocols, especially in areas under enhanced community quarantince (ECQ like the National Capital Region (NCR).
Guevarra said the established processes are contained in a joint memorandum circular issued last May 31 by the DOJ, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
He said that any arrest for violation of minimum public health standards “is anchored on an existing, valid, and applicable local ordinance or law.”
He said the established processes are contained in a joint memorandum circular issued last May 31 by the DOJ, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
He pointed out that when the law or ordinance “allows the payment of a fine or the rendition of community service to avoid criminal prosecution, the same shall be observed to avoid congestion in detention centers, holding areas, and prosecutor’s offices.”
“If the violation requires that the person arrested be subjected to inquest proceedings (such as for resistance and disobedience to a person in authority under Article 151 fo the Revised Penal Code), the arresting officer shall immediately present the person arrested to the DOJ inquest prosecutor,” he said.
“The DOJ inquest prosecutor must strictly comply with the mandatory timeframe to complete the inquest, by electronic means or otherwise, or may order the immediate release of the person arrested, likewise to avoid unnecessary congestion in holding areas, jails, or other detention centers,” he added.
Under the circular, he said that local government units (LGUs) have also been “mandated to identify and provide large and open-air holding areas which shall be used for booking and initial investigation purposes.”
Reports stated that over 20,000 quarantine violators have been arrested during the first three days of ECQ in NCR.