Duterte orders arrest of barangay captains for tolerating COVID-19 spreader events
By Celerina Monte
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the police to arrest barangay captains for possible dereliction of duty if parties and other mass gatherings take place in their locality amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a pre-recorded "Talk to the People" aired on Wednesday night, Duterte said he rather makes such an order than suspending the writ of habeas corpus as proposed by some in going after violators of health protocols.
"Others said there should be a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in order to arrest all (violators)," he said, adding that he declined the proposal since the violation cannot really be considered a "violent crime."
Duterte said starting Wednesday night, he was ordering the Philippine National Police, through the Department of Interior and Local Government, to arrest barangay captains who will tolerate those activities which can be super spreaders of COVID-19.
"I'm ordering the DILG to enforce the law. The crime is dereliction of duty under the Revised Penal Code," he said.
"Beginning tonight, the police will just arrest the barangay captain. First bring to police station together with those holding picnics," the President added.
He said if he cannot be strict in implementing the law, the COVID-19 problem will continue.
Duterte said the government does not always have enough fund to address the problem.
He also warned the human rights groups not to just meddle on the issue, especially if the policemen will use trancheon to go after the violators of the health measures.
Duterte said the cops can hit the hands or legs of those who will resist arrest. DMS