NBI can probe local execs’ lockdown rules violations sans complaints

April 01, 2020

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) can start an investigation into violations of community quarantine rules even without a formal complaint.

NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said this yesterday when asked to comment on President Duterte's statement that the agency can go after local government officials violating quarantine guidelines.

"Director (Eric) Distor ordered last March 31 all the operating units of NBI to conduct investigations into possible violations of the community quarantine," Lavin, the concurrent NBI spokesman, said.

He added that the NBI investigation even without a formal complaint was" upon orders of higher authorities."

In his report to Congress, Duterte said: "The NBI is investigating and filing charges against local government officials who willfully disregard, contravene, or violate national guidelines on community quarantine set by the IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases). "

President Duterte placed the entire Luzon including Metro Manila under enhanced community quarantine to stop the spread of the feared virus COVID-19.

A memorandum from Malacañang on the enhanced quarantine guides government agencies to ensure the following:

Prohibition of mass gatherings and imposition of strict home quarantine among all households;

Work-from-home arrangement for the executive branch;

Only essential establishments are to remain open (those private establishments providing basic necessities and such activities related to food and medicine production i.e. public markets, supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, hospitals, medical clinics, pharmacies and drug stores, food preparation and delivery services, water-refilling stations, manufacturing and processing plants of basic food products and medicines, power energy, water and telecommunications)

Suspension of mass public transport facilities;

Restricted land, air and sea travel; and

Labor, social welfare, finance, budget and trade departments to come up with programs for affected workers and businesses.