Malacañang on Thursday reminded policemen to use “proportionate” or reasonable force against lockdown violators who may resist arrests.
Presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said law enforcers should be prudent in implementing President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to arrest individuals violating the protocols set by the government to contain coronavirus transmission.
“The President was also clear — the police should only utilize proportionate force against those who will defy agents of the law,” he said in a televised briefing.
On Wednesday night, the President directed the police to arrest and detain barangay captains who will fail to stop mass gatherings within their respective areas amid the pandemic.
“If there’s one single incident beginning tonight, the police will just arrest the barangay captain and bring him to the station together with those who are in picnics, have them investigated and detained,” he said.
Duterte said local officials would be arrested for “dereliction of duty” as listed in the Revised Penal Code.
Roque echoed the President’s pronouncement, adding that mass gatherings are prohibited under ordinances approved by local government units.
Earlier in the day, an official from the Department of Justice said the agency would look into the possibility of whether Duterte’s new order can be included in the new guidelines on arresting people who break safety protocols against Covid-19.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the guidelines will be released today.
In Bulacan, over 2,000 tourists picnicked and swam in the Bakas River in Norzagaray town on Sunday. Most did not observe minimum health protocols.