MANILA, Philippines – Residents of Dasmariñas Village in Makati City said on Monday, April 27, they support the government's lockdown rules to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but stressed their right to be secure in their homes.
"While DVA (Dasmariñas Village Association) supports the government's efforts to eradicate COVID-19, DVA also recognizes the right of all residents to be secure in their houses against unwarranted intrusion by law enforcement officers," the association said in a statement to its residents.
The statement comes after one of its residents, Javier Salvador Parra, was assaulted by a cop who attemped to arrest him on Sunday, April 26.
Cops tried to detain Parra for lashing out against them after they allegedly tried to fine him P1,000, saying that Parra's house help did not wear a facemask while gardening their house plants. (READ: Makati man went berserk, cursed police – PNP)
The DVA said it is investigating the incident, saying it will keep in mind "the balance that must be struck between our residents' rights and the government's COVID-19 response."
Directly addressing their fellow residents, DVA added: "If you feel that the Barangay sanctioned law enforcement officers are acting unjustly, please do not escalate the situation and do your part in reducing the tension."
The encounter is the latest in a series of reported incidents of alleged police abuse. On April 19, cops barged into the Pacific Plaza Towers in Taguig City and were seen to act aggressively to enforce quarantine guidelines. Retired Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio said policemen in the Taguig incident violated the law for entering without a court-issued warrant.
No law or regulation states that you or your companions must wear face masks in your own private property to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. (READ: Luzon lockdown: What are the do's and don'ts?)
The government’s regulations on wearing a face mask in public spaces were put in place to prevent the transmission of diseases, including COVID-19. But Parra pointed out that their house help was tending to the plants alone in their house and could not have been at risk of disease.
In previous instances where people have argued with cops, the police have used Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code on resistance and disobedience to a person in authority, punishable by a fine not exceeding P100,000 and imprisonment of up to 6 months.
Read DVA's full statement below:
READ: Dasmariñas Village Association releases a statement on the assault and attempted arrest of pne of its residents. It says it supports the government measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but adds that rights must still be protected. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/73NnX4Zzxa — Rambo Talabong (@ramboreports) April 27, 2020 – Rappler.com
Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.