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Lawyers back proposed community service for quarantine violators

Members of the Manila Police District (MPD) officers on foot patrol along Divisoria in Binondo Manila, on 10 March 2021. Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso has ordered a 4-day Barangay lockedown on two barangays in the nation's capital due to increasing number of COVID-19 cases.(photo by ali vicoy)


BY JEFFREY DAMICOG


An organization of lawyers welcomed proposals to have violators of health protocols to just undergo community service as punishment.

“At long last. It is a positive idea,” National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) president Edre U. Olalia said in a statement.

He said that in response to the recommendation of Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on Monday to have violators take part in the community service based on violations committed under local ordinances.

Guevarra pointed out the flaw in arresting and charging violators based on Republic Act 11332, the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

“We have raised this point as early as March 19 last year,” Olalia said.

“And it has been consistently validated by multiple dismissals of such charges by different prosecutors and judges,” he cited about the charges that have been filed against violators using RA 11332.

Olalia expressed dismay that “hundreds of our citizens who do not have the same entitlements as those in or close to the corridors of power had to endure this manifest injustice through a patently erroneous reading and misapplication of a vague law to justify harsh implementation of quarantine protocols at best and cover up repressive measures at worst.”

“That it comes more than a year to have epiphany says a lot about the mess we are all in,” he said.

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Written by Tempo Desk

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