Nationwide lockdown violations now total 69,089; e-inquest vs. offenders set

Inquest proceedings will be done through virtual platforms, video calls
by Aris Ilagan | Mar 30, 2020
PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

There won’t be any pushups nor community service for curfew offenders this time.

To show that it’s hell-bent on imposing the 8pm to 5am curfew and other restrictions under the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), including local ordinances of some cities and municipalities in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it has apprehended violators that now total to 69,089 individuals.

Of the figure collated by the police and military from March 17 to 29, 2020, there were 16,988 violations recorded in Metro Manila. A total of 2,095  public utility vehicles were cited for different ECQ-related violations in the area.

The breakdown of the arrested persons in the National Capital Region are as follows: given warning - 12,809; penalized - 1,658; and arrested - 252.

Luzon-wide there were 29,303 persons warned by authorities, 2,010 penalized, and 7,627 arrested.

The curfew violators will not be treated with kid gloves, according to task force commander Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar. As the number of violators continues to rise, the PNP has started coordinating with the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the activation of online inquest proceedings.

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Eleazar said he received numerous requests from local government executives not to be lenient with the implementation of the curfew policy, so as to be able to effectively confine people to their respective homes and prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Earlier, the Joint Task Force CV Shield, out of compassion, allowed the curfew violators to go home after undergoing the booking process and posting bail.

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They also cited the lack of facilities to detain the violators and the shortage of prosecutors who will file the cases.

However, Eleazar assured that the curfew violators were properly documented and, with the help of the online inquest proceedings, the charges filed against them will be pursued once the COVID-19 crisis has subsided.

“Based on our assessment, the number of curfew violators will just continue to rise if we become lenient on them. This will definitely defeat the purpose of the declaration of the Enhance Community Quarantine,” said the task force commander.

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General rules have been readied for the conduct of e-inquest by government prosecutors across the country.

PNP Chief Police General Archie Gamboa also instructed CV Shield task force elements to coordinate with the local chief executives for the identification of temporary detention centers. This will allow the apprehended curfew violators to observe social distancing while confined in the facility.

If the curfew violators are to be released over the decision that the regular filing of the case will be done after the ECQ, curfew violators must be held for a maximum of 12 hours while being admonished so as to deter them from repeating the offense.

The PNP chief also issued a strict instruction against the use of physical punishment on arrested curfew violators. So guys, don’t you dare.

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PHOTO: Aris Ilagan
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