QC sets guidelines for warrantless arrest of quarantine violators

QC sets guidelines for warrantless arrest of quarantine violators

MANILA – Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte issued guidelines on the warrantless apprehension and arrest of violators of quarantine measures being imposed in the city during the general community quarantine (GCQ) and the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

The city government released the guideline on July 13 and was posted on its social media account Wednesday, in its efforts to intensify its enforcement of health quarantine measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease amid the marked increase in Covid-19 cases in the city.

“There is a recognized need to implement, among others, heightened enforcement of quarantine measures such as the prevention of mass gatherings, social distancing, wearing of face masks, etc.,” the memorandum states.

Annex B of the guidelines enumerates the quarantine measures being imposed by the city government wherein, if violated, a warrantless arrest may be implemented by authorities.

Among these are the limited gatherings and physical distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks or other face coverings, regulation of liquor sales, distribution and consumption, violation of the public safety hours, and the enforcement guidelines for minors.

“A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; and when an offense has just been committed, and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it,” it added.

Penalties for violators include a fine of not less than PHP20,000 but not more than PHP50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the proper court.

Meanwhile, the penalty of arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding PHP100,000 shall be imposed upon any person who will resist or seriously disobey any person in authority, while engaged in the performance of official duties.

When the disobedience to an agent of a person in authority is not of a serious nature, the penalty of arresto menor or a fine ranging from PHP2,000 to PHP20,000 shall be imposed upon the offender, as stated in Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code.

To further facilitate warrantless arrests, the QC government will disseminate subsequent guidelines on the issuance of Ordinance Violation Receipts (OVRs), pursuant to Section 2 of Quezon City Ordinance No. SP-2752, series of 2018, or An Ordinance Providing for the Procedures in Cases of Violation of City Ordinances Imposing Fines, Penalties, and Community Services, specific to health regulation violations such as Quarantine Measures. (PNA)

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