The Department of the Interior and Local Government assured the six (6) detained Anakpawis members of due process as the Philippine National Police (PNP) has filed cases against them for violating the Enhanced Community Quarantine, failure to practice social distancing, and attempting to organize a mass gathering in the guise of an alleged relief operation.
“The rule of law does not stop during a public health emergency. The DILG respects the rights of the detained Anakpawis members and we assure them that they will have their day in court. Since nahuli na sila, sa hukom na lang sila magpaliwanag,” said DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya.
He said that in so far as the PNP is concerned there is probable cause against Anakpawis since they were caught in the act by the Norzagaray Police in a checkpoint. “Clearly, they violated quarantine rules because they are Unauthorized Persons Outside of Residence (UPOR), they misrepresented a Food Pass to gain passage through checkpoints, there was no coordination with the LGU of Norzagaray, Bulacan for this alleged relief operation, and they intimidated our police officers by using a congressman who in fact is no longer an incumbent member of Congress, among others,” he said.
Malaya said that those detained are entitled to adequate legal representation of their own choice and he has no doubt that a battery of lawyers will represent them. “I’m sure a battalion of lawyers from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and Public Interest Law Center (PILC) has been mobilized by their central committee for this purpose. So, sa hukuman na lang sila magpaliwanag,” he said.
He again emphasized that a food pass even if issued by the Department of Agriculture is not valid for the conduct of relief operations. “They illegally used a food pass for another purpose when a food pass is for the transport of farm produce from farm to market. In fact, the use of the DILG logo for this purpose is again illegal and will not be tolerated by this Department,” he added.
He said that the DILG and PNP is currently very busy now fighting COVID and seeking an end to the ECQ that it zaps their time, energy and effort dealing with Anakpawis and similar “pasaway” organizations. “Instead sana of being pasaway, tulungan ninyo na lang ang gobyerno for a change. Stay home and save lives,” he said.
He said that all the six (6) have been charged for violation of the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act and for violation of Section 9, Art. 1132 (Non-cooperation of persons), Art. 151 (resistance and disobedience to a person in authority) of the Revised Penal Code in relation to IATF directive dated April 2, 2020 and DOH Dept Order 2020-0090 and EO 922, Sec 4 (all citizens are urged to act within the bounds of law). Former Cong. Casilao will also be charged for usurpation of authority under Art 177 of the Revised Penal Code. Department of the Interior and Local Government