PNP chief Gen. Archie Franciso Gamboa explained that such situations could not be avoided when a person’s right to privacy would have to take a back seat to safeguard public health in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
PNP photo
PNP admits intrusions into ECQ violators’ privacy
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - April 30, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday admitted there were cases wherein police officers have intruded on the privacy of citizens in the enforcement of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

PNP chief Gen. Archie Franciso Gamboa explained that such situations could not be avoided when a person’s right to privacy would have to take a back seat to safeguard public health in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

He cited instances where police officers manning quarantine checkpoints are allowed to ask specific questions of motorists while Luzon and other parts of the country are under ECQ.

“In the usual checkpoint, you cannot even ask searching questions but for the interest now of public health, we now have the power to inquire,” Gamboa told reporters.

“In a way there are some intrusions on privacy because we are trying to protect a higher interest, which is public health,” he added.

Gamboa, however, defended the policeman who filed charges against a Spaniard for violating the ECQ and resisting arrest in Dasmariñas Village in Makati City last Sunday.

Gamboa said Senior M/Sgt. Roland Madrona was only doing his job when he figured in an altercation in front of the house of Spanish national Javier Salvador Parra.

He said Madrona is mandated to arrest Parra even inside his own property after he committed violations and disrespected the police officer.

“You start to behave not in accordance with normal behavior, the PNP personnel has always the right to arrest you,” he said.

Gamboa dared Parra to file charges against Madrona, vowing they will defend the police officer in court.

To avoid similar incidents from happening, Gamboa said the public should always treat policemen with respect.

Gamboa inspected yesterday several quarantine control checkpoints in Metro Manila in the wake of complaints of abuse by law enforcers in the implementation of quarantine guidelines.

He assured the public that the police will not tolerate any form of abuse by policemen, especially blatant violations of privacy rights.

“We keep on reminding our policemen that even in this situation, the people have privacy rights,” he said.

Police abuse

Militant labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) yesterday expressed alarm over the rising incidence of physical abuse by authorities against violators of the ECQ.

PM chair Renato Magtubo said the rising pattern of cruelty against ECQ violators is being tolerated and becoming the new norm nationwide.

“Can’t our security forces in dreadful military uniforms act humanely before their fellow humans? Have they been instructed to apply brute force against anyone they perceive to be pasaway,” Magtubo added.

Magtubo said the Constitution guarantees human and labor rights and these were never abolished even with the emergency powers provided to President Duterte under the Bayanihan Act.

Based on police reports, Magtubo said, over a hundred thousand ECQ violators have been arrested since the lockdown was imposed last March.

Among those arrested was a fish vendor in Quezon City who was beaten up by barangay officials and a student leader who was detained for three days.

Police also dispersed and arrested protesting workers in Cavite.

“Labor rights are not suspended during the ECQ and this incident breaks all the rules of engagement, especially the guidelines on the conduct of security personnel during labor disputes,” Magtubo pointed out. – With Mayen Jaymalin, Elizabeth Marcelo

ARCHIE FRANCISO GAMBOA ECQ PNP VIOLATORS
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