Quarantine control point in Barangay San Miguel, Puerto Princesa City.

Newly-appointed Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento on Monday said the online inquest proceedings for persons apprehended during enhanced community quarantine will be done all over the country as long as courts, prosecution offices, and police units in their respective areas have an internet connection.

“We ordered it to be applicable for jurisdictions which are internet-capable,” Malcontento said.

He said online inquest proceedings started last Friday (March 27) and will be implemented nationwide as long as the parties involved in the areas “are i-capable.”

Malcontento said the online inquest may be undertaken through any internet platform based on the basic requirements of procedures and to be undertaken with close coordination between law enforcement agencies and offices of the prosecutors.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra, for his part, said online inquest is “just the same procedure done online”, referring to the filing and teleconferencing among internet-capable Philippine National Police (PNP) units, courts, and prosecution offices.

Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP Deputy Chief of Operations, on Sunday said curfew violators during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine will still face arrest and possible prosecution.

Eleazar, also the commander of the Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield (JTF CV Shield), said the PNP has reconsidered its earlier decision not to arrest violators due to the increasing number of curfew violators and the activation of the DOJ’s online inquest proceedings.

He said the PNP considered the appeal of the local government units (LGUs) not to be lenient on curfew violators, citing their own dilemma in convincing their constituents to follow the ECQ imposed in the entire Luzon to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

He said based on the PNP assessment, the number of curfew violators will just continue to rise if the police will be compassionate on the violators.

The JTF CV Shield said 42,826 violators of curfew were apprehended in the first 11 days of the quarantine implementation from March 17 to 27.

He said all the arrested violators will be taken to the nearest police stations for investigation and filing of the cases.

Eleazar said the DOJ has already issued guidelines on procedures for the conduct of online inquest to the government prosecutors across the country.

He reiterated his appeal to the public to stay inside their houses and spend quality time with their families during the quarantine period to avoid being arrested, detained and charged. (PNA)


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