Smoking ban EO may be cited to arrest vaping ban violators – DOJ
MANILA, Philippines – Vapers or those who smoke e-cigarettes may be arrested based on President Rodrigo Duterte’s verbal order using a legal basis the existing Executive Order No. 26 which prohibits smoking nationwide.
“The existing EO prohibiting smoking in public places may apply to vaping only insofar as such vaping makes use of any tobacco derivative and produces smoke in the process,” Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters.
“In any event, I have been informed that the OP (Office of the President) will issue a new EO covering all types of vaping,” he added.
It is not clear, however, if there will be no arrest if vaping is done in designated smoking areas (DSAs).
“In my opinion and by analogy, there is no infraction under the existing EO (Executive Order) if the vaping is done in DSAs,” Guevarra said.
“But I cannot order the police to refrain from making arrests. I do not have that power,” he added.
Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lieutenant General Archie Francisco Gamboa earlier said the police will arrest and record the violators on the blotter and eventually released, admitting that he could not think of any possible complaint that can be filed.
“To arrest is one thing, to convict is another,” said Guevarra.
Meanwhile, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) national president Domingo Egon Cayosa said any citizen can go to the courts to challenge President Duterte’s verbal order to ban vaping in the country.
He said the courts still hold the power to hear any petitions challenging the legality or constitutionality of Duterte’s verbal order.
“I’m sure the President as a lawyer knows that. The fact that he has articulated his position does not hinder our courts from performing their constitutional duties,” Cayosa said in an interview on CNN Philippines.
“At the end of the day, any citizen who feels aggrieved by the order can actually go to the court to challenge the order,” he added.
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