Duterte order to restrict movement of unvaxxed violates constitution, rights — CHR
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Saturday said the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to restrict unvaccinated people from going out of their homes “violates” the constitution and human rights amid the rapid uptick of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Duterte, in his recorded address aired Thursday, ordered barangay captains to look for unvaccinated people and order them to stay home, or restrain them if necessary should they go out of their houses.
Metro Manila mayors have also issued a directive saying that unvaccinated individuals must remain in their residences at all times except during the procurement of goods and services.
But CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia, in a statement, noted that while the 1987 Constitution states that the liberty of movement can be restricted in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, there needs to be a law to make such restrictions legal.
“Presently, there is no law that makes being unvaccinated a crime, nor is there any law that would satisfy the Constitutional provision on curtailing freedom of movement. Any arrest made on these grounds may be illegal; thus, violative of the Constitution and our guaranteed human rights,” she said.
De Guia also noted that the warrantless arrest goes against the guarantees of due process in the Constitution, saying authorities could only arrest without warrant in situations involving flagrante delicto arrest or when someone was in the act of committing, attempting to commit, or has committed a crime; ‘hot pursuit’ arrests; and re-arrest of escaped prisoners.
“Presently, there is no law that makes being unvaccinated a crime, nor is there any law that would satisfy the Constitutional provision on curtailing freedom of movement. Any arrest made on these grounds may be illegal; thus, violative of the Constitution and our guaranteed human rights,” De Guia said.
“Government should also contemplate the repercussions of such a directive considering that our jails and other detention facilities are already congested, which may further worsen transmission of COVID-19,” she added.
De Guia also encouraged the government to implement a “human rights-based approach” on the matter, stressing that the public should be educated on the importance of vaccines and problems in vaccines access and supplies to be addressed instead.
“Ending the pandemic is a human rights concern. We stress that an effective pandemic response can and should maintain respect for human rights,” she added.
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