The majority of the netizens are united in pointing out the obvious contradictions in the government’s response to its quarantine implementation.
After Sen. Koko Pimentel breached quarantine protocol, he was not given any punishment unlike ordinary citizens who were jailed, apprehended, or worse, beaten up in the case of some people at a Quiapo mosque.
Former Supreme Court Spokesperson Ted Te, called out the Department of Justice who was flip-flopping with their opinion regarding the implementation of the protocol.
According to Te, when ordinary people are involved the DOJ are ready to impose Section 9 of RA 11332, but if it is pro-admin senator like Koko, they are now invoking human compassion.
“When the person involved was not a privileged senator, the DOJ opined that secs. 9(d) and 9(e) of RA 11332 could give rise to a warrantless arrest even without resistance. Now, they’re citing tempering the rigor of the law with human compassion? Yea, right.”
When the person involved was not a privileged senator, the DOJ opined that secs. 9(d) and 9(e) of RA 11332 could give rise to a warrantless arrest even without resistance. Now, they're citing tempering the rigor of the law with human compassion? Yea, right.
— Theodore Te (@TedTe) March 25, 2020
Human rights lawyer Atty. Chel Diokno also shared Te’s opinion saying if it’s the poor who violated they’ll automatically end up in jail, but if it’s a Senator compassion will be the defense.
“Pag mahirap, kulong. Pag senador, compassion? Ang compassion e para sa mga may sakit at mga naghihirap, hindi para sa mga pulitikong sadyang nilagay pa sa peligro pati frontliners natin. Bakit pag ordinaryong tao, parusa agad? Pero kung big time, walang pananagutan?”
Pag mahirap, kulong. Pag senador, compassion? Ang compassion e para sa mga may sakit at mga naghihirap, hindi para sa mga pulitikong sadyang nilagay pa sa peligro pati frontliners natin. Bakit pag ordinaryong tao, parusa agad? Pero kung big time, walang pananagutan? https://t.co/Rz7CnX6fGV
— Chel Diokno (@ChelDiokno) March 26, 2020
Their opinions came on the heels of recent DOJ pronouncements regarding the case of Sen. Pimentel which is a total opposite from their earlier statements.
On March 16, in a statement after President Rodrigo Duterte’s public address, DOJ Sec. Menardo Guevarra also said that those who will not abide by the quarantine rules may face arrest under the Revised Penal code.
“Violators of the enhanced community quarantine may be arrested and charged under Article 151 of the [Revised Penal Code] which punishes resistance and disobedience to a person in authority or the agents of such person.”
However in his latest statement Wednesday, right after the news about Sen. Pimentel went viral, Guevarra changed tune saying compassion will be used in applying the law in these abnormal times.
“During abnormal times like this, when people are prone to commit mistakes or violations of the law, the DOJ will temper the rigor of the law with human compassion. But this is not to say that the DOJ will not act upon the filing of a proper complaint by any interested party,” said Guevarra.
That statement further reinforced netizens criticisms against the government’s different treatment between the privileged and the ordinary masses.
Like what Jeff Canoy and Chiara Zambrano shared on their social media accounts where ordinary people are apprehended immediately, the privileged ones like Pimentel can go scot-free since DOJ said, there needs to be a complaint filed first before they can initiate investigation.
“For a complaint to prosper, those who have personal knowledge of the incident should file the complaint,” said DOJ Usec Markk Perete.
— Jeff Canoy (@jeffcanoy) March 26, 2020
Si Mang Arturo Lostreno, nakita ng pulis na nag-aalok pa rin ng pa-tint ng sasakyan sa Banawe sa gitna ng…
Here are other sentiments from netizens with regards to the rich vs poor implementation of the quarantine protocols.
Koko Pimentel just proved that this government do not care at all about the people. Puro kuda pero when shit hits the fan they’d gladly push everyone off just to save their own asses. Mga sakim! Sana pagbayaran niyo lahat to!!!
— todd chavez (@ribsreprise) March 25, 2020
Ohdiba. Pag karaniwang Pilipino papasok lang sa trabaho huhulihin ka pa. Pag senador, positive na pagala gala pa. I LUV ETTE
— GUILLOTINE (@kaeofficial) March 25, 2020
When you’re a When you’re a
citizen senator pic.twitter.com/tV3FpQ5tO5
— Benedict Bernabe #ARVayanihan (@yogawithben) March 25, 2020
Yung mga natutulog sa kalsada, dinampot at kinulong dahil labag sa quarantine.
Si Koko Pimentel, sinabihan nang huwag, nagsumbong pa kay Duque at pinahamak mga frontliners natin pero hindi nila magalaw.
Ang tagal nang hinahayaan ‘tong mga ganito.
— Mikoy Morales (@MikoyMorales) March 25, 2020
“Poor is guilty until proven innocent, rich is innocent until proven guilty.” pic.twitter.com/JVyx786oj5
— Jake Ejercito (@unoemilio) March 26, 2020