Senate Minority leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday urged the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to review its plan to do a house-to-house search for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.
In a statement, Drilon said that it reminds the public of the government’s “Oplan Tokhang” program.
“I would urge the DILG to review what they are proposing because it runs smack to the right of the people to be secured in their residences. I would strongly suggest that, because it reminds us of operation tokhang,” Drilon said in an online forum, referring to the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
“I urge a review of this system proposed by Sec. [Eduardo] Año because it infringes on the right of the people under our Bill of Rights to be secured in their houses and against unreasonable searches and seizures,” he added.
Although he noted the importance of protecting the health of the people, he said that the COVID-19 pandemic should not be an excuse to set aside the rights provided by the 1987 Constitution.
“There is no question that there is a need to protect the people but we should do it with due deference to the Constitution. The pandemic does not set aside the Constitutional restrictions and protection under the Bill of Rights,” he said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, on the other hand, clarified that the DILG may use this approach but it should be done with due bounds in its enforcement.
“It appears that they are dead serious in truncating the spread of the virus. As long as it is within due bounds then I don’t see a problem,” said Sotto.