PNP orders cops to warn quarantine violators, not arrest them
The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) has directed all police personnel, especially those manning checkpoints, to just warn and fine those who are violating the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols.
In a TV interview, Brig. Gen. Ildebrandi Usana, PNP spokesperson, said only those who are related to crime operations should be arrested as far as implementation of ECQ is concerned.
“(We) are only requiring police officers, those who are conducting checkpoints, to just simply warn (violators) and if there are ordinances that require violators to pay fines then they will be fined and maybe some seminars along the way,'' said Usana.
''But for them to be arrested, the chief PNP has already instructed our police officers not to do so because that will be tantamount to being counterproductive in addressing the concern of these violators,” Usana said.
“Last year we learned our lessons, we have had enough of the controversies that involved a number of our police officers and this year the chief PNP wanted that arrest should be out of the question. There must only be a warning or fine to be imposed depending on the local government unit’s requirement,” he said.
Usana said there are instances that village watchmen were the ones who will bringing violators to police stations.
He said police officers should advise barangay officers to exercise the policy under the ordinances and release the violators right away.
“There must be no requirement on staying put for a number of hours because that is also tantamount to putting into custody that person… Upon verification, they must be released so the police shouldn’t take much time to consider the custody of violators for a longer number of time,” he said.
Usana said the chief of police, even the regional and provincial directors, should remind their personnel of Sinas’ directive.
As to those being arrested due to disobedience, Usana said police officers can still exercise their authority if they are being challenged.
“(We) advised (our) police officers to have maximum tolerance, prudence as well as being calm, in all situations of nature. However, if there are indeed individual persons who are challenging the police officers… they can exercise their authority,” he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS