THERE is nothing unconstitutional in the three ordinances recently passed but three different local government units imposing a curfew on minors, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Saturday.
“In our constitution, there is what you call police power. If it’s needed to protect the citizenry, then we can implement that,” Panelo said in an interview over state radio dzRB after a youth group asked the Supreme Court to stop the ordinances.
The Samahan ng mga Progresibong Kabataan filed the suit against Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Navotas City Mayor John Rey Tiangco were named respondents.
The group said the curfew ordinances are unconstitutional because they are vague and can result in arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.
The petitioners said the ordinances were “too broad” because they impair legitimate activities of minors during curfew hours and deprive minors of their right to liberty and to travel without substantive due process.
The group argued that Manila’s curfew ordinance is contrary to the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, which prohibits the imposition of curfews except if they are for the protection and not the punishment of minors.
Panelo, however, downplayed the group’s complaint, saying exemptions can be made in connection with the ordinances.
“If that should be the case, you can always place an exemption there. If there’s any exemption paper that proves they are studying and need to go home at a particular time that will be affected by curfew, then there won’t be any problem,” he said.
“Even if the minor is working, there’s no problem with that. I think what parents like me, like all of us, want is the peace of knowing that our children are already at home at a particular time,” he added.
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