MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Debold Sinas, on Monday ordered all policemen to stop arresting violators of health and safety protocols amid the implementation of strict quarantine measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
In a press statement, PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana said Sinas also tasked police commanders not to accept quarantine violators being referred or turned over by village security officers.
“Our Chief PNP just wanted to warn the violators and remind them of the need to follow the minimum health safety protocol but in case of repeat offenders, they could be fined or render community service. So the instruction is clear, violators should not be arrested,” he said.
Usana explained that arresting or filing charges against quarantine violators is impractical since violators would have to be brought to the police or station.
In the case of those who violate the uniform curfew hours which was adjusted from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., Usana said the penalties that would be imposed on the violators should be settled at the barangay level.
He added that only violations of the existing laws relating to peace and order and criminal activities should be attended to by the police.
Last week, the chief of police of General Trias City, Cavite and two police officers were relieved from their posts, after a quarantine violator who was turned over to a police station died after being forced to do strenuous physical exercise.
The two policemen who ordered the physical exercise are also facing criminal and administrative charges.
Based on PNP data, a total of 37,275 violators were accosted in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal and Cavite since March 29 when the four areas were placed under enhanced community quarantine.
Of the figure, a total of 21,897 were warned, 13,924 were fined, and 1,454 violators were subjected to community service. (PNA)