President Duterte prefers to assign policemen at quarantine hotels in the country in order to prevent cases of quarantine “jumping”, or skipping the required quarantine period for individuals who just arrived from abroad.

(Mark Balmores/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

This, as Duterte acknowledged during his “Talk to the People” public briefing late Tuesday night, Jan. 4 that the hotel owners or personnel can’t legally halt persons under quarantine from leaving their quarantine hotels early.

“Yan ang problema (That’s the problem). That’s why police na lang (we should leave it to the police)…I hope this is nationwide….Ang pulis na lang (Let’s leave it to the police) because I do not think pag ka pumilit talaga (that if they really insist), if they force their way in getting out, magkakaroon talaga ng ruckus (there will really be a ruckus),” he said.

“Lalo na itong mga babae, eh makipag-away yan (Especially these women, they will get into a quarrel). That’s an issue to be addressed by government,” added Duterte.

Although he didn’t mention it, the President was presumably referring to Gwyneth Chua, the so-called “Poblacion Girl” who infamously jumped her supposed quarantine at a Makati City hotel after coming home from the United States (US).

Chua attended a party afterward only to learn that she had tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). She reportedly infected 10 other individuals in the party.

“I think that the answer of the hotel is correct. They cannot be doing the police work for the government, itong mga hotels (these hotels),” Duterte said, without naming a particular quarantine hotel.

“Kung mga (If we’re talking about) health authorities, mga empleyado (the employees), they can. Because they are really working upon the orders of the Secretary of Health. Pero itong mga (But these) hotel employees or owners for that matter, they cannot be in any position legally to stop a person from doing his things,” said Duterte, who is a lawyer.

According to the Chief Executive, the hotels cannot really be asked to enforce quarantine rules on individuals since “You are delegating a governmental procedure imposed by government.”

“It would not be legally correct to go after the hotel owners or managers there or whoever is attending to the needs of the people that are inside the hotel because of quarantine reasons.

“Illegal nga pero walang (It’s illegal but there is no)…clear delineation dyan sa (there on) what they can enforce and what they cannot. Sa tingin ko wala pala siguro, walang (I think there is none, there is no) delegation of authority coming from–just the same, it would be a questionable issue,” he said.

But if police officers are tasked to prevent quarantine breaches at these hotels, then they would undoubtedly have the power to arrest the violators.

Duterte asked Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año to assign at least two cops who will work on two shifts at the quarantine hotels.

“They also have to keep their–mindful of their duty to advise the person, at kung magpipilit (and if they insist on jumping) then the power to arrest them, no doubt about it,” Duterte said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (