No more 2nd chance for quarantine violators-- Gamboa

THERE would be no more 2nd chance for all quarantine violators specifically those gambling or drinking in public once President Duterte orders an extended lockdown to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine National Police leadership said yesterday. 

From March 17 to last Sunday, police have already apprehended over 127,000 violators of the Enhanced Community Quarantine with nearly 7,000 of them still under detention for much graver offenses including resisting arrest and disobeying lawful orders from agents of a person in authority.

PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa  earlier ordered an intensified crackdown against all  ECQ violators in Luzon and the rest of the country amid an outburst from President Duterte who castigated Filipinos who continue to defy orders from them to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The growing number of ECQ violators caught the ire of President Duterte who declared he will use the full force of the police and the military in going after unauthorized persons who continue to defy orders for them to stay home.

Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander, Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said that of the apprehended ECQ violators, nearly 78,000 are from Luzon specifically in Metro Manila and other parts of Calabarzon and Central Luzon regions while around 24,000 are from Visayas and nearly 26,000 are from Mindanao.

Of the total number of violators, over 91,000 were given initial warnings and subjected to thorough  COVID-19 lectures by the police  while more than 5,500 were ordered to pay fines imposed by local government units and the court.

More than 6,000 others were also inquested thru the Department of Justice’s electronic-inquest program and remained in jail until posting of bail. Over 23,000 other violators will soon find themselves being charged in court thru regular filing procedures.

“Maybe some violators feel they can get away with our enforcement of quarantine rules and local ordinances, but only because we are not under ideal conditions to detain all law offenders, except to complete the mandatory requirements of documentation and booking,” said Gen. Gamboa.

“Trust me, their brush with the law today will not go unpunished. There will be a day of reckoning for all lawbreakers when we shall find the appropriate time to directly file criminal charges in court to begin their agony of criminal prosecution,” he added.

The PNP chief likewise explained that they have reacted with compassion to certain situations involving people’s need for food and basic necessities and will continue to be reasonable and fair along this matter.