MANILA - The Philippine National Police will "accost," not arrest, persons who wear their face masks improperly, its chief said Monday.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the police has coordinated with local governments to identify detention facilities for health protocol violators following President Rodrigo Duterte's order.
The PNP will "accost violators" based on local ordinances, Eleazar said.
"Yung iba sinasabi na dapat we are sympathetic dahil ang iba wala naman talagang face mask. Alam niyo, pwede naman ang improvised face masks," he told ANC's Headstart.
(Others say we should be sympathetic because there are those who don't have face masks. There are improvised face masks.)
"Puwedeng bigyan natin sila (ng mask) pero aarestuhin pa rin natin sila...When we arrest them meaning to say ina-accost natin sila. Technical word lang 'yun eh. Then dadalhin sa police station depending sa existing ordinance ng lugar na 'yun."
(We can give them face masks but we will still arrest them...When we arrest them meaning to say we are accosting them. It's just a technical word. We will then bring them to the police station depending on the existing ordinance.)
Vice President Leni Robredo earlier said the public should instead be taught how to properly use face masks or be given a warning first before they are arrested.
"'Yung warning natin ginawa na natin yan, for the past year wina-warn na natin sila. 'Pag may nakita tayo sa kalsada bitbit na sila," Eleazar said.
(We have given warnings for the past year. If we see a violator, we will accost them.)
"'Yung humanitarian consideration nand'yan pero inuulit natin sa kanila, nakiusap na tayo, nagbigay na tayo ng warning so pag ginawa talaga nila, bitbit talaga sila sa police station," he added.
(There's humanitarian consideration but we repeat, we have given warnings so if they continue to do so, they will be brought to the police station.)
Quarantine violators should also not be punished with exercise, Eleazar said as he warned abusive police officers.
"Kung ikaw ay nagkamali 'di natin patatawarin yan. 'Di ako magdadalawang-isip na tanggalin 'yang mga 'yan dahil alam natin maraming gustong mga kabataan ngayon na mag-join ng (PNP)," he said.
(If a policeman errs, we will not forgive them. I won't second-guess removing them from service because we know many youth aspire to join the PNP.)
Some 17,000 aspiring policemen are being recruited this year, Eleazar added as he said the PNP will no longer entertain the "padrino" system.
"'Di niyo kailangan maglagay, di niyo kailangan ng kakilala. We will get only the best for the PNP," he said.
(You don't have to bribe, you don't need any contact within the organization.)