President Rodrigo Duterte has a new order: arrest and imprison those who do not wear or wear face masks incorrectly.
Duterte said that if they don’t tighten the implementation of protocols, nothing will happen.
“My orders to the police are those who are not wearing their masks properly in order to protect the public—kasi kung hindi, hindi mo madepensahan ‘yong publiko—to arrest them and detain them, investigate them why they are doing it… I-detain mo tapos imbestigahin mo siya kung bakit ganoon ang behavior nila,” said Duterte on Wednesday night.
The President’s order is different from the statements made by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Last month, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he was suggesting to the MMDA that community service only and no imprisonment or fines be imposed on those who violate quarantine protocols.
On Thursday, Guevarra clarified that the President’s order is only for those who violate the law or ordinance.
“When there is no law or ordinance that defines an offense, no arrest can be made,” he said.
Duterte’s order to arrest, detain face mask violators questioned
This is also the position of Malacañang.
“So iyong pag-aresto naman po, dapat po sang-ayon po iyan sa ordinansa o sang-ayon sa batas. Kung wala pong ordinansa ay nakasaad naman po sa revised penal code na maximum of 12 hours [detention] at kung hindi makasuhan ay kinakailangan pawalan,” said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.
But according to Guevarra, the President’s order will be implemented immediately in other LGUs where there is an ordinance in this regard.
However, DILG and MMDA themselves admitted that the agencies still need to talk about arresting and detaining face mask violators.
“There are different penalties imposed by LGUs. So we may have to talk to the LGUs and of course the PNP about the presidential directive and we will have to reconcile,” said DILG spokesman Harry Roque.