SC asked to abolish curfews
A youth organization asked the Supreme Court on Friday to stop the implementation of curfew ordinances in Metro Manila, which the police had apparently dusted off and enforced more aggressively at the onset of the Duterte administration.
The Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (Spark), through counsel Jesus Falcis III, filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition to question the “unjust and repressive” local laws particularly in Manila, Quezon City and Navotas, saying they restrict freedom of movement and travel.
“The curfew ordinances are unconstitutional because it deprives minors of the right to liberty and the right to travel, without substantive due process,” said the group, which aired its opposition earlier this month in what may be the first protest action directed at the Duterte administration.
The ordinances are unconstitutional as they result in “ arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement” on the part of the police and local government authorities, it said.
“We are filing (the petition) on behalf of all young citizens who also have the right to be contributing members of society without being threatened by undue punishment and possible instances of overreaching authority,” Spark spokesperson Joann Lim said in a statement.
Days before Mr. Duterte assumed office, the different city police units in the capital implemented “Oplan Rody” (Rid the Streets of Drunkards and Youths), rounding up minors violating the curfew along with adults caught drinking liquor or going shirtless in public.
“We are also crying foul on the unjust detention of the youth’s parents if their children are apprehended during curfew hours,” Lim added.
Manila, Quezon City and Navotas implement their curfew on minors from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in line with President Duterte’s promised campaign against crime and illegal drugs.
However, Spark said, some youths who attend classes and hold “legitimate activities” at night have cried foul over these measures, especially since they also penalize parents with a jail term or a fine of up to P2,000.
“These ordinances are implemented without due consideration of important factors, such as the housing conditions in affected areas, hardships encountered in transportation, and the late shifts (that are followed) by affected students,” Lim said.
Lim cited the case of Clarissa Villegas, a student of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, who must travel for two hours going home after her classes end at 9 p.m. While commuting late at night, Villegas was almost apprehended by authorities for a curfew violation, she said.
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