A resident of Dasmariñas Village in Makati City named Javier Salvador Parra is now under investigation following an incident outside his own house on Monday, April 27. It was reported that Parra resisted when the police officer tried to arrest him for “verbal assault” and other cases related to the violation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine regulations implemented by the Philippine government as a response to the Covid-19 outbreak. The incident erupted after Parra’s helper was confronted by the officer for not wearing a mask while gardening alone.
Meanwhile, this create confusion to other people because the World Health Organization (WHO) is not recommending that a healthy person should use face mask, especially when one is not tending a patient.
On its website, the WHO clearly stated:
- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
In addition, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that “the data doesn’t show that wearing masks in public will help people during the coronavirus pandemic”. Adams is a member of the Trump administration’s Coronavirus Task Force. He also added that, “What the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reaffirmed in the last few days is that they do not recommend the general public wear masks.”
Prior to this, there was also another reported incident on April 19 in Pacific Plaza Towers in Taguig City where police officers aggressively broke into the said place without a warrant, shouting at residents. In the report, “the building’s management said only about 6-8 residents were in the open area and they were all practicing proper social distancing, none of them using the pool facilities and just walking or sitting away from each other, taking in the afternoon sun”.
According to the Rappler report:
“The management said the cop, who was not wearing a face mask, “berated (residents) loudly for not following the guidelines, and curtly shouted at them to go away.” The management also said the cops forced their way in to the condo, saying “our security staff was unable to prevent their entry despite their attempts to do so.”
Regarding the incident, retired Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio said “it was illegal for policemen to barge into the premises of a posh Taguig condominium without any court-issued warrant” and that with this, they “violated the law”. He also added that, “This incident involves a violation of the constitutional right to be secure in one’s house”, referring to Section 6, Article III of the Constitution that guarantees the rights to the liberty of abode.
Meanwhile, according to the Rappler report, “the Taguig City Police said Monday it was Mayor Lino Cayetano himself who ordered cops to go to the condo citing reports that residents were not observing physical distancing”. On this, Carpio said: “even with the mayor’s order, the police still had no legal basis”. He continued, “There is no basis because no crime was being committed by the residents. Every unit owner has a right to use a common area subject to reasonable rules by the condominium management”.
Shutting down open areas in private spaces is also not in the rules issued by the Duterte government’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) against the coronavirus, according to Carpio. He also added, “there is no other law” that prohibits it (the said activity), “and assuming there is, entry would still be unconstitutional without the police securing a search or arrest warrant. It will violate the constitutional right to security of abode and the constitutional right to privacy.”
- Featured image: https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/04/28/2010395/makati-cop-files-criminal-raps-vs-expat-dasma-scuffle