Police apprehended and will sue 353 people for curfew violation on the first day of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, which will add to prosecutorial dockets still recovering from the thousands of pandemic arrests made in 2020.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Saturday, August 7, that there were 20,511 violations in the "NCR Plus" bubble from Friday, August 6, to 4 am Saturday.
The PNP's data showed that out of the 20,511 violations, only the 353 curfew violators in Metro Manila will face complaints.
Others were warned, fined, issued citations, and sanctioned with community service.
The 353 were "released for filing," said the PNP, which in police language means the detention period while waiting for inquest was waived. They didn't use the term arrest.
The Department of Justice has softened its stance on arrests and has taken a preference for community service, but it had to revert to an arrest policy after a speech by President Rodrigo Duterte.
So far, however, the PNP has not made regular arrests where violators are held until the complaint is filed and the prosecutor has ordered their release. This was a problem in 2020 that led to the overcrowding of jails.
It was unclear what law would cover the curfew violations, but Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said that local ordinances with penal sanctions would be more proper than Republic Act No. 11332, the law that was used often in 2020, clogging prosecutorial and court dockets.
The PNP said only 10 people in Metro Manila were apprehended for violation of RA 11332 and they "were all simply warned."
In total, out of the 20,511 violations, 5,781 were for curfew violations while 14,775 were for violations of public health standards.
Metro Manila had the highest number of curfew violators with 4,394; of them, 605 were warned, 1,235 were fined, 2,201 were sanctioned with community service, and 353 were released for filing.
"Muli po ay hinihingi namin ang displina at kooperasyon ng bawat mamamayan para hindi na lumala pa ang sitwasyon natin sa kasalukuyan," said PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar.
(We are asking for the discipline and cooperation of every Filipino so our situation does not worsen.)