PNP launches legal offensive vs people attacking, discriminating vs frontliners

THE Philippine National Police legal team is readying all possible charges that could be filed against any persons that would attack or bully medical front-liners and even those infected by the COVID-19 virus as well as their families, the head of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield said yesterday.

On orders of PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, the task force has strengthened its legal offensive against those who would dare to hurt or discriminate health workers who are currently working in the frontline to prevent the further spread of the pandemic, said Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, through our Chief PNP, has instructed us to protect and assist our health workers on the frontlines amid the reports of attacks and harassments against them. Let this serve as a warning to those heartless fools that we will not tolerate their misdeeds and we will make sure that they would pay if they dare to hurt or discriminate them,” said Eleazar.

According to the official, all the harassments and discrimination such as physical assault, hurling stones on the houses and even any attempt to destroy any property of medical front-liners and COVID-19 patients would be covered by the provisions of the Revised Penal Code.

An angry President Duterte ordered the police to secure health workers in the country amid two incidents in Cebu and Cotabato were two hospital workers were splashed with cleaning chemicals by unidentified persons who suspected them of carrying the virus.

There were also reports that some local residents have been bullying the family of COVID-19 patients and even those classified as Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) and Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs).

Eleazar said those who would dare to humiliate and bully medical front-liners and COVID-19 patients online would be charged with violation of the Anti-Cybercrime Law.

He added that houses, condominium  or apartment owners who would try to evict medical front-liners could be held liable for grave coercion.

“We urge our medical front-liners and the relatives of the COVID-19 patients to immediately report to us any form of attack, harassment and discrimination against them and we will assure you that we will immediately act on your complaints. Your complaints will be our priority,” the official said.

He said that complaints and information can be sent to the official JTF COVID hotlines 0998-849-0013 for Smart users and 0917-538-2495 for Globe users. The JTF CoViD Shield can also be reached through its email address: ncovmonitoring@gmail.com.