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Protocol violators’ playbook signed

Año said that the joint memorandum circular is necessary to ensure that the agencies are acting in unison in stopping health protocol violations

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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra. (File photo)

Local government officials, the police and government prosecutors shall be on the same page when arresting and prosecuting violators of health protocols set to curb the spread of Covid-19.

This after the Department of Justice (DoJ), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) signed on Sunday a unified playbook on teaching violators a lesson.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año have confirmed their signing of a joint memorandum circular detailing the guidelines on the arrest of violators.

The PNP, led by General Guillermo Eleazar, was also a signatory to the document in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to arrest not only the violators but also local officials remiss in their duties to stop the commission of the violations.

Several so-called “super-spreader” events, including pool and wedding parties, have prompted the President’s order following reports dozens of attendees in those events tested positive for Covid-19.

Año said that the joint memorandum circular is necessary to ensure that the agencies are acting in unison.

“Under the memo circular, we define the role of the agencies, the DILG, DoJ and the PNP so that we will act as one in enforcing the health protocols like wearing masks, social distancing and the prohibition of mass gathering,” he said.

“We also included the setting of curfew hours to ensure our citizens will strictly follow. The PNP is also tasked to ensure that the arrested violators will be placed in a big holding area and will not be mixed with ordinary criminals to prevent congestion,” Año added.

Año said that at least 40,000 were arrested in one week for violation of the health protocols.

“The DOJ ordered the prosecutors to hasten the inquest proceedings and to dismiss the cases once there is no evidence to warrant the filing of cases against them. Most of the violators were fined and instead tasked to do community service,” he said.

“There are three parties involved in the joint memorandum circular. The PNP is among the signatories since the police will implement the arrest and apprehension,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra added that he signed the circular last Friday and that it was forwarded to the DILG and the PNP for signing.

“The guidelines cover the apprehension, arrest, detention and holding of those being arrested for violation of health protocols. The DoJ prosecutors are tasked to conduct the inquest proceedings for those who will be arrested,” Guevarra explained.

He emphasized that the guidelines will also cover barangay captains and other officials who shall face administrative and criminal liabilities for dereliction of duties over their failure to enforce the health protocols.

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