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Law dean warns against inflicting physical injury, torture on violators

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 29 2020 01:52 PM | Updated as of Apr 29 2020 01:58 PM

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MANILA - A law dean on Wednesday reminded authorities not to inflict injury or torture those arrested for alleged violations of enhanced community quarantine rules.

Maria Soledad Mawis, law dean at the Lyceum of the Philippines, said authorities should stick to penalties under a particular local ordinance.

This, following an incident where authorities were caught on video beating an alleged quarantine violator in Quezon City.

"Hindi puwedeng magpataw ng parusa na kakaiba sa sinasabi ng batas. Sundin natin 'yung nakalagay sa batas," Mawis said in an interview on DZMM.

(They cannot impose punishment that is different from what is under the law. Let's follow what is in the law.)

Mawis said if authorities impose penalties other than what is on the ordinance, then that too constitutes a violation of the ordinance.

"Paglabag din 'yun sa ordinansa kung ipapataw nila, ipagagawa nilang parusa ay iba doon sa nakasaad sa batas," she said.

(If they impose a penalty other than those under the law, that in itself is a violation of the ordinance they are enforcing.)

Mawis said violators may not be subjected to torture and other kinds of penalties as authorities see fit.

"Kunwari nakalagay sa batas na ito lang ang parusa tapos dinala ka sa ilalim ng araw, taliwas sa sinasabi ng batas. Torture 'yun. Imagine, buong araw kang nandoon sa ilalim ng araw, 'di tama yun. Hindi puwede yung ganun. Mas subject pa yan sa abuse kung hahayaan natin doon sa nagpapatupad, depende sa tingin nila, kung papaano dapat ipatupad ang batas," she said.

(For example, the law enumerates penalties then you are made to sit under the sun, contrary to what the law says. That's torture. Imagine, the whole day you are under the sun, that is not right. It would be subject to abuse if we let the authorities impose penalties depending what they feel like.)

She likewise stressed that authorities should not inflict physical injuries on arrested violators just like what happened to a fish vendor beaten by Quezon City disciplinary task force personnel.

Viral videos showed at least 5 men trying to drag the vendor for alleged quarantine violations while selling fish on Panay Avenue in Barangay South Triangle. One of the task force personnel could be seen hitting the vendor's hands and feet with a stick.

"Talagang hindi puwedeng mag-inflict ng physical injury. Hulihin nila, dalhin sa presinto kung kailangang sampahan ng demanda," she said.

(They cannot inflict physical injury. They should just arrest, bring to the police precinct if charges will be filed.)

The vendor was brought to the station and later tested positive for illegal drugs, police said.

Mawis also pointed out that authorities must tell violators why they are being arrested and be read their rights, like the right to call an attorney.

"Sundin lang kung ano ang nasa ordinansa. Kung ang tao sinasabi nating sumunod, dapat din 'yung nagpapatupad sumunod din sa batas para walang masyadong diskusyon," she said.

(Just follow what is in the ordinance. If we are telling people to follow the law, those enforcing it should also follow the law so there won't be any more discussion.)

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