Gamboa: No more warnings for ECQ violators if…

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday said that in the event President Duterte orders a ‘martial law-type’ approach to ensure a very strict Enhanced Community Quarantine in the country, police won’t be warning anymore hard-headed Filipinos to go back to their homes and instead arrest them once they are spotted on the streets violating health protocols including social distancing.

"Pag sinabing martial law siguro the President would like to emphasize that we would really make some arrests. Siguro dapat magpakita ang publiko na mag-behave sila para hindi ito matuloy. Kung ito matutuloy it will be the full implementation of the law. Wala na tayong warning, diretso na tayo sa aresto,” Gen. Gamboa told DzMM in an interview.

As he spoke, there were already more than 130,000 people apprehended for violating the quarantine measures including the curfew hours although some 96,000 of them were merely given warnings that a repeat offense would bring them real trouble with the law. Gen. Gamboa said all police preparations are already in place for an extended and much tougher ECQ and all the Philippine National Police leadership is waiting is the green light from President Duterte.

He also assured the public that quarantine violators will get their day in court once the situation normalizes. He emphasized that police will ensure a ‘certainty of punishment’ for people who completely ignored quarantine rules and engaged in public drinking or illegal gambling or violated curfew hours and even resisted arrest by authorities.

The PNP chief also asked National Capital Region Police Office director, Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas to prepare facilities that will house arrested quarantine violators should President Duterte really  order a "martial law type" implementation of quarantine measures.

The PNP also identified areas in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon which need to come up with temporary lock-up facilities for offenders.

“I also required the regional director of NCR to prepare per district kung saan ilalagay itong mga taong mahuhuli. And then mag-reserve din siya doon sa Bicutan. So all of these things are being prepared because we expect massive arrest kung hindi talaga susunod yung mga tao,” Gen. Gamboa explained.