Duterte says he won’t obey any court on issue of Cebu pandemic management
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday during his taped weekly briefing that he would not obey any court ruling on the matter of managing the COVID-19 pandemic in Cebu province.
That was his reaction to the filing of Cebu-based lawyers of a petition before a court seeking to stop the 10-day quarantine period for returning Filipinos being enforced by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“I don’t want to lock horns with the judiciary. I said I respect it. But there are times that, you know… the courts can function normally and maybe grant injunctions,” Duterte said, speaking partly in Filipino. “But this time, I said they are put on notice that I will not be stopped. I will not obey the courts in the matter now of managing the pandemic.”
Cebu has insisted on implementing its own protocols on passengers arriving from abroad, requiring to undergo COVID-19 testing on arrival.
Under IATF rules, returning Filipinos should be tested seven days after their arrival and undergo facility-based quarantine for 10 days.
As for Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, Duterte said: “I assured her we are fair. I see the wisdom in her view. But the overwhelming notion among us in government simply does not agree with her. I leave the fate of Governor Garcia to the DILG.”
“I will just say that I am here to protect the people, and for as long as I am guided by reason, as long as it is factual, backed up by studies, then I will follow what the medical science will tell me. That is my answer,” he went on.
Duterte also stressed that a provincial ordinance could not be “higher than a national policy.”
“Not all cases can really be the subject of an injunction or a TRO [temporary restraining order] for that matter. I’m sorry, but the courts will not interfere in all matters,” he said. “This is not a question of justice and equity. This is a question of survival of the nation. I will not allow any court for the matter. I’m putting notice. I will not obey.”
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