The Virac municipal police station hopes to file cases against 290 quarantine violators this week, more than two months after the imposition of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) over Luzon.
Newly-appointed police chief PMaj. Antonio Perez said in an interview last Wednesday (May 27, 2020) that his superiors are already ordering him to file all cases, including those of the quarantine violators.
“Sa ngayon hindi pa natin kayang bigyan ng deadline, immediately, but I hope within this, bago matapos itong buwan, ay ma-ifile na lahat yung mga cases dahil hinahagadan na kami ning higher headquarters o higher command namin to clear all the under investigation case[s],” he said.
He added that most of the violators were charged with violating Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code, or “[r]esistance and disobedience to a person in authority or the agents of such person.”
“Kasi nga, as I said kanina, more on curfew. So sa curfew, dun bumabagsak ‘yung disobedience kasi sinasabi ng presidente natin na may mga edad na pinapayagan, at may mga taong pinapayagan, at hindi pinapayagan,” the police chief explained.
He also noted that two other pending cases were about alcohol overpricing in Virac.
“That is in relation sa quarantine law, but mayroong mga particular case na sinasampa dun regarding overpricing. Pero babagsak pa rin yun dun sa [quarantine law], kasi noong magkaroon ng kautusan ang ating presidente sa kanyang declaration of a state of health emergency, so nakapaloob doon na bawal ang magtaas ng presyo,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Catanduanes Chapter has been offering free legal aid for those arrested for violating ECQ and GCQ measures.
“IBP Catanduanes, through Atty. Rene John Velasco & in behalf of our Chapter Pres. Atty. Jerry Dela Cruz is offering free Legal Aid Service/Assistance to all Catandunganons who were caught and were arrested for violating ECQ Guidelines such as curfew and liquor ban,” the organization stated in a Facebook post.
IBP member Atty. Rene John Velasco said in an interview last May 22 that the IBP launched the initiative to assist around 400 alleged quarantine violators and lighten the load for the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and help while he and fellow lawyers are still stranded on the island.
“Wala man ako sa gobyerno, so habang istranded ako uya sa Catanduanes, as well su iba ko pang fellow lawyers, nakatabang man lamang to give advice and once ma-file na, ma-counter affidavit, para ma-depensahan ninda su saindang sadili,” Atty. Velasco said.