No more warnings for lockdown violators, only arrests: PNP chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 21 2020 07:21 PM | Updated as of Apr 21 2020 07:28 PM

Police guard a portion of Shaw Boulevard leading to Mandaluyong City preventing motorists from crossing from Pasig City on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 as the expanded community quarantine takes effect. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The chief of the Philippine National Police said Tuesday violators of the Luzon lockdown will be arrested sans warning, as the government seeks to halt the spread og the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

"Foremost, there will be no more warning for ECQ violators-- instead arrest and inquest procedures will be applied to cases of violation of Republic Act No. 11469; Republic Act No. 11332; as well as Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code," PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa said in a statement, citing the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

"These violations of law carry with it appropriate penalties and fines, but, what will be more burdensome for violators are the tedious judicial process and the implications of a Derogatory Record to their personal criminal profile."

The PNP chief said that since March 17, two days after the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon began, 136,517 violators have been recorded.

Of that number, 98,986 violators have been warned, 6,168 were fined, and 31,363 were arrested. 

Out of those who were arrested, 2,467 remains detained. More than 24,000 cases have been also filed against violators.

"During this period there are also 732 persons arrested due to hoarding, profiteering and manipulation of prices of basic goods, and 9,419 Public Utility Vehicles drivers apprehended," Gamboa said.

The police official said he has authorized the PNP Special Action Force, the institution's elite unit, to enforce the lockdown within Metro Manila.

Earlier, the SAF inspected some markets in the capital to check if strict physical distancing is enforced. 

Gamboa said they will not allow medical and healthcare frontliners to get infected because of stubborn violators.

"We need to do this because we also want to mitigate the continued risks faced by frontline PNP personnel who are exposed to increasing number of people and motorists violating the ECQ at checkpoints."

PNP also has at least 55 personnel who tested positive for COVID-19.