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SC stops Manila, Navotas, Quezon City curfew ordinances

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) The Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 27, temporarily stopped the imposition of curfew ordinances on minors in Manila, Navotas City, and Quezon City.

During their regular en banc session on Tuesday, the High Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining the 3 local governments from implementing their ordinances imposing curfew hours for those 18 years below.

This was in response to the petition filed by youth group  Samahan ng mga Progresibong Kabataan (Spark) seeking to declare as unconstitutional the curfew ordinances which, it argued, are curtailing a person’s right to liberty and travel.

“The Court, acting on the petition for certiorari and prohibition with application for a temporary restraining order challenging the ‘Curfew Ordinances’ of the three local governments as ultra vires for being contrary to Republic Act 9334  (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act), issued a temporary restraining order effective immediately and until further orders enjoining the three local government units from implementing and enforcing the ‘Curfew Ordinance’,” the resolution stated.

The High Court directed the respondents – Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Navotas City Mayor John Rey Tiangco, and Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista – to comment on the petition within 10 days of notice.

In its petition filed before the High Court on July 22, Spark, with some residents and students from the concerned cities, argued that the curfew ordinances were “vague, unjust, and repressive” and should be declared unconstitutional.

The petitioners said the ordinances suffer from overbreadth as they impaired the legitimate activities of minors during curfew hours. 

These ordinances, they argued, also deprived minors of the right to liberty and right to travel, and their parents the primary right in rearing them – all without due process.

The petitioners, in particular, slammed the Manila curfew ordinance for violating the provisions of Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act as it imposes a curfew on minors and punishes violators.

They also argued that the curfew ordinances promote arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.

In mid-May, when it was clear that he had won the presidency, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he would impose a curfew on minors and jail their parents, inspiring local governments in different parts of the country to impose local ordinances to this end even before he assumed office.

A day after the SC issued the TRO, Estrada ordered to halt the enforcement of the curfew ordinance in Manila. He suggested that Duterte be the one to push for a nationwide curfew on minors.

Also on Wednesday, July 27, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista said that even with the TRO, barangay officials can still enforce barangay curfew ordinances since the TRO only covers  City Ordinance 2301 – 2014 or the Quezon City Discipline Hours for Minors ordinance. – Rappler.com