Individuals who will be caught violating enhanced community quarantine regulations should not be subjected to physical punishment or abuse, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Wednesday.
CHR spokesperson Attorney Jacqueline de Guia made the remark a day after a fish vendor in Quezon City was mauled by barangay workers for talking back to the police he was caught selling fish on a sidewalk in violation of quarantine rules.
“Ang relevant po rito ay meron tayong Anti-Torture Act. Kailangan ba gamitan ng dahas? Kung kailangan, ang sinasabi ng batas, dapat reasonable at proportional ang pwersa na gagamitin. Kailangan mo rin mapatunayan na kinailangan talaga gamitan ng dahas,” De Guia said on DZBB.
The Anti-Torture law bans physical torture, mental, psychological torture as well as other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment, "including those inflicted by a person in authority or agent of a person in authority against a person under his/her custody which attains a level of severity causing suffering, gross humiliation or debasement to the latter."
De Guia then stressed that the laws, including the Anti-Torture law, are not subject to the whims of the police, military or barangay officers.
“Kung nagsasalita lang, hindi mo kailangang gamitan ng baril. Kung may dalang kutsilyo, hindi ka rin dapat gumamit ng baril. Iyan po ang nasa batas. Paalala po lagi sa mga law enforcement units, ang paras po sa mga nagva-violate ng stay at home, ang parusa po dapat ay naaayon sa batas. huwag silang mag-shortcut,” de Guia said.
“Huwag silang magkaroon ng sariling interpretasyon nila sa batas. Huwag nilang ilagay sa batas sa sarili nilang kamay. Hindi puedeng arbitrary punishment,” de Guia added.
De Guia then said that making quarantine violators to stand under the heat of the sun, mauling them, making them perform a lewd dance or kiss against their will, among other incidents reported by citizens to CHR during the quarantine period, are in violation of the Anti-Torture law.
De Guia then assured the public that CHR will stand ready to assist them if they fall victim to similar offenses by reaching out to 0919-4447720 and 0915-0770097 and thru this email address chr email@example.com.
“Nagsasagawa po kami ng imbestigasyon sa panahon ngayon, at tutulungan po namin sila sa pagsampa ng kaso,” De Guia said. -NB, GMA News