243 vapers nabbed then freed as PNP finds no law to file cases

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested 243 persons across the Philippines for using electronic cigarettes. Cops set them free as soon as they were taken into custody as the police found no law as a basis to file cases.

"243 persons were released after documentation," police spokesman Brigadier General Bernard Banac said in a Camp Crame press briefing on Monday, November 25.

Banac also said they confiscated a total of 318 pieces of vaping gadgets and a total of 666 pieces of vape juices from the arrested persons

Earlier in the briefing, Banac maintained the basis for the arrests was enough, which according to their own memorandum that ordered the arrests was President Rodrigo Duterte's verbal order and Executive Order No. 26.

EO 26, however, does not explicitly order the ban of vaping. The Department of Health sought to expand the EO through an administrative order, but this has been blocked by a Pasig court since October.

The PNP has been waiting for an EO to explicitly ban vaping but President Duterte himself has said that there is no need for it. Duterte earlier warned judges against issuing restraining orders if ever anyone questions his verbal-only policy of enforcing the law. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.