The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) opposed the recent order of President Rodrigo Duterte to arrest unvaccinated individuals who would insist on going out of their homes.
“While the 1987 Constitution provides that liberty of movement can be restricted in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, it still requires a law to make the said restriction legal,” said Commission on Human Rights spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia.
“Presently, there is no law that makes being unvaccinated a crime, nor is there any law that would satisfy the Constitutional provision on curtailing freedom of movement. Any arrest made on these grounds may be illegal; thus, violative of the Constitution and our guaranteed human rights.”
De Guia, a lawyer, said that an arrest warrant would also be required against those arrested because it would violate the Constitution’s due process.
She said an unvaccinated could not be arrested “flagrante delicto” even if caught in the act because it is not a crime under any law.
CHR opposes arrest of unvaccinated individuals
“Government should also contemplate the repercussions of such a directive considering that our jails and other detention facilities are already congested, which may further worsen transmission of COVID-19,” the CHR official added.
This is also the opinion of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) chief information officer while insisting that explanations and not dungeons should be presented to those who do not get vaccinated.
They added that the production of COVID-19 vaccines should be made “open source” to speed up the production of medicines and lower their prices.
Earlier, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) clarified Monday that those unvaccinated against COVID-19 would not be arrested but would be instructed to go home.
According to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, barangay officials in coordination with law enforcers would set up checkpoints to limit the movement of the unvaccinated amid the continuous rise of COVID-19 cases believed to be due to the Omicron variant.
“Ang ating mga barangay captains at mga kapulisan ay magsasagawa ng mga checkpoints. Kung ikaw ay hindi bakunado, pauuwiin ka, ‘yun lang naman. Pero kung ikaw ay magre-resist ay talagang sapilitan kang iuuwi,” he added.