Belmonte issues guidelines on arrest of quarantine violators
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - July 16, 2020 - 12:00am

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has issued a memorandum detailing the proper and lawful procedures for warrantless arrest of violators of quarantine protocols.

The memorandum dated July 13 and released to media yesterday contains a simplified standard operating procedures on arrests of violators of health-related ordinances.

It covers measures on limited gatherings and social distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks, regulation on sale and consumption of liquor, public safety hours and enforcement guidelines for minors.

Under the guidelines, arrests can be made by a peace officer or a private person if an individual has committed, is actually doing or attempting to commit a violation of health-related ordinances.

An arrest can also be carried out when an offense has just been committed and the arresting officer “has probable cause to believe, based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances, that the person to be arrested has committed a violation.”

At the time of arrest, the arresting officer must introduce him or herself and inform the arrested person of his or her Miranda Rights under the Constitution.

After booking procedures in the nearest police station, arrested violators must be brought to a government hospital for medical and physical examinations before an investigation can commence.

Violators will undergo electronic inquest prescribed under an order issued by the city prosecutor last May.

Police station commanders and barangay captains were allowed to identify temporary detention facilities for quarantine violators to avoid jail congestion.

The procedures are based on provisions of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure on warrantless arrests. It also cited Republic Act 11332 or the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases as legal basis.

“An increase in COVID-19 cases has been observed in Quezon City following the downgrading of community quarantine classifications in the National Capital Region,” read the memorandum.

“Hence, there is a need to implement, among others, heightened enforcement of quarantine measures such as ban on mass gatherings, observance of social distancing and wearing of face masks,” it added.

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