MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has expressed its opinion after President Duterte ordered police to arrest people not wearing face masks properly, it said that this is “prone to excessive discretion and abuse.”
CHR spokesperson Atty. Jaqueline de Guia says that disciplinary measures on violators must be “reasonable and humane.”
“In the absence of clear guidelines, we are concerned that such directive may be prone to excessive discretion and abuse,” said De Guia in a statement.
The spokesperson also stressed that detention may not be the best plan in preventing the spread of the virus.
“Given the overcrowded conditions of jails and other detention facilities in the Philippines, detention may not be sound in preventing the further spread of COVID-19 in communities,” she said.
The statement came after the president’s last pre-recorded briefing where he warned that anyone caught not wearing a mask or wearing it improperly will be detained and investigated.
Reports are showing several human rights violations have already been committed over the enforcement of health protocols against COVID-19.
Among these was the case of Darren Peñaredondo from Brgy. Tejero, Cavite last April 1 who was nabbed by the police after he was seen buying drinking water past curfew.
Held captive, he was ordered to do over-the-top exercises as punishment for violating curfew protocols. Hours after, he had seizures, lost consciousness then had a stroke, and died shortly after.
Another occasion involved Ernanie Jimenez who died on April 9 right after being arrested and beaten up by the barangay tanods also for curfew violations.
Reporting By: Ghelo Carreon