The Philippine National Police will “accost” persons who wear their face masks improperly, its chief said Monday.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the police had 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 told ANC’s Headstart.
He added: “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 would be arrested.
Observers said 14 months after the country came under various stages of lockdown, people should already know the proper wearing of masks.
Quarantine violators should also not be punished with exercise, Eleazar said as he warned abusive police officers.
Some 17,000 aspiring policemen are being recruited this year, Eleazar added as he said the PNP would no longer entertain the “padrino” system.
In a related development, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto in a statement said police should heed Eleazar’s no-jail order
Any rush to arrest mandatory mask violators without setting up the “holding and booking” infrastructure would worsen jail congestion and the clogging of court dockets, Recto said.
With 182,556 inmates, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology has a congestion rate of 434 percent, one of the world’s highest, the senator noted.
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