The acting chief lawyer of Quezon City on Saturday defended Mayor Joy Belmonte’s memorandum mandating the warrantless arrest of quarantine violators, saying it “has legal basis.”
To support his justification, Nino Casimiro, acting chief of the city’s legal department, cited different laws that he said provided the bases for the arrest quarantine violators.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) earlier said the memorandum has no legal basis.
However, Casimiro cited sections of the 1987 Constitution and Republic Act 11332 as the basis for the warrantless arrests.
“In any case, the city assures the public that strict enforcement of its ordinances shall be tempered by understanding, tolerance and respect of the people’s fundamental rights,” he said.
“The city will also continue its efforts to educate the public of the important safety measures necessary to protect everyone’s health,” Casimiro said.
Article 2, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution, the lawyer noted, ensures “protection of life” and “promotion of the general welfare” that he said “are essential for democracy.”
Section 15 of the same article provides that the State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them, Casimiro said.
In addition, Section 16 of the Local Government Code provides that the city has the power “to do all things necessary to promote general welfare, promote health and safety, maintain peace and order and preserve the comfort and convenience of its inhabitants.”
Section 458 of that law mandates the city council “to adopt measures to protect the city from the harmful effects of natural disasters and calamities,” he added.
Section 6 of Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act was the last legal justification given by Casimiro.
The section provides that local governments have the authority to enforce rapid containment, quarantine and isolation, disease prevention and control measures.