MANILA – The Palace order for law enforcers to arrest individuals not wearing face masks, a violation of public health protocols, is immediately executory.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday “the President’s directive takes effect immediately even without the guidelines.”
“Existing laws and ordinances define the prohibited act and impose the corresponding penalties therefor, and the relevant rules of court govern the procedure,” Guevarra told reporters.
He said there is no need for any subsequent implementing rules for the order to go into effect.
“The best way to avoid being arrested while the guidelines are being formulated is to wear a face mask and obey the law,” Guevarra added.
He noted that there is no inconsistency with an earlier proposal that local government ordinances on the prevention of Covid-19 may consider imposing “community service” as an alternative to stiff fines or imprisonment.
Community service as a penalty, Guevarra said, does not preclude the arrest of violators.
“On the other hand, the President’s latest directive to law enforcers is to effect the arrest of persons caught in the act of violating laws or ordinances relating to basic health protocols. In accordance with existing rules, arrested individuals will undergo inquest procedures conducted by DOJ prosecutors,” he said. Benjamin Pulta / PNA – northboundasia.com