Metro Manila community quarantine

Lacson: Without ordinances, PNP may not be legally equipped to conduct arrests

/ 12:39 PM March 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson has warned the Philippine National Police (PNP) that arresting loiterers while Metro Manila is on a community quarantine due to the COVID-19 threat may have no legal basis behind it.

According to Lacson — a former PNP chief himself — the laws being used to effect the partial lockdown of the National Capital Region (NCR) are outdated, and does not say anything about movement of people on the streets.


“As the ‘community quarantine’ to address the COVID-19 threat starts, the Philippine National Police should exercise caution in handling the situation,” he said in a statement.  “Republic Act 9271, the Quarantine Act of 2004 – replacing a very old Republic Act 123 of 1947 – is silent on the movements of persons in the streets as it only covers domestic and international seaports and airports.”

“Hence, law enforcement authorities may not be legally equipped to conduct arrest unless local ordinances are available for its enforcement,” he added.


Prior to the lockdown’s effectivity on Sunday as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte, several individuals became wary of possible arrests as rumors of a Metro-wide curfew came from various government officials.

However, Malacañang said that Duterte has not yet considered an NCR curfew, although Metro Manila mayors are leaning towards it.

READ: After lockdown, Metro Manila mayors push for curfew

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas clarified though that no arrests would be made as there is law being violated of people traveling while on a community quarantine, unless people commit bribery or direct assault.

READ: Duterte has yet to consider Metro-wide curfew — Malacañang

According to Lacson, they may be a need to amend the law to make it suitable for the situation.  As of Sunday morning, there are already 111 COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, with at least eight people dead.

Worldwide, over 152,000 persons have been infected with the latest coronavirus strain, claiming 5,801 lives — the bulk of which coming from China, the virus’ place of origin.


READ: Number of coronavirus cases in PH jumps to 111

“For its part, Congress may need to amend R.A. 9271 to adapt to this new normal, the COVID-19, and God knows what else would come to hit us in the future. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of its kind even as we pray that cure will come sooner than soon,” Lacson explained.

“Having said that, the people are enjoined to fully cooperate. After all, these are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary measures,” he added.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Department of Health, DoH, lockdown, Metro Manila, nCoV update, Phil‎ippine National Police, Philippine news updates, President Rodrigo Duterte, Senate, Senator Panfilo Lacson, State of Public Health Emergency
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.