Drilon wants repeal of penal provisions in proposed Bayanihan extension law
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Friday proposed the removal of the penal provisions for quarantine violations under the Bayanihan to Heal as One law should its effectivity be extended until September.
Drilon made the proposal as the Senate committees on finance and economic affairs tackle a bill which seeks to extend the effectivity of the law for three more months. Malacanang vowed that President Rodrigo Duterte will certify the extension bill as urgent once it receives the Senate’s committee report on the matter.
Drilon pointed out that violations enumerated in the provision, or Section 6, is already penalized in other laws. The provision is also being used by law enforcers to conduct warrantless arrests.
“The Bayanihan Act is not a penal statute per se, the principal purpose of the law is to address an emergency and not punish a crime… My proposal is to delete the entire Section 6 because the acts in Section 6 are likewise punished in other laws,” Drilon said.
He further pointed out that violators of the said law, especially those who violate quarantine protocols, are only “driven by hunger and lack of jobs.”
“They are violating the quarantine rules by looking for food, they are looking for jobs. The quarantine violators are motivated and driven by reasons of hunger and by reasons of income and not because they are criminals,” the senator said.
The Bayanihan act was signed by Duterte last March 25 and is set to expire this June.
Under the law, spreading false information about COVID-19, hoarding, profiteering, manipulation of prices, and product deceptions are prohibited.
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