The Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) signed a memorandum on Tuesday on dealing with violations of health and safety ordinances and quarantine-related violations during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra disclosed that local ordinances of local government units (LGU) will guide law enforcers on apprehending health and quarantine protocol violators such as not wearing masks and improper uses of masks.
The Justice chief said that while the agency all for strictly enforcing quarantine and health protocols, local ordinances still vary from each cities and municipalities.
“As I said, not all ordinances are the same. Some ordinances impose an administrative fine or community service to avoid criminal prosecution. For ordinances that impose a penalty of imprisonment, the violator will be brought to the DoJ inquest prosecutor and will be detained until the complaint is resolved by the prosecutor,” Guevarra said.
The DoJ secretary also noted that LGU officials — including barangay leaders who fail to carry out their duties in stopping supers spreader events in their jurisdictions — shall be administratively liable under the joint guidelines.
“For LGU officials who neglect to enforce public health regulations, they may be help administratively liable under the Local Government Code for neglect of duty, and even criminally liable under the Revised Penal Code for dereliction of duty,” said Guevarra.
To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an order to arrest people who violate health and safety protocols, saying that the police can arrest those who are not wearing their masks properly, in order to protect the public.