After being arrested for violating enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) rules, Senator Jinggoy Estrada has been released by the San Juan City Police — a development deemed as unfair by worker group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP).
The group slammed the move after BMP vice president Lito Rastica and labor leader Reynaldo Dulay remained inside a cramped detention cell in San Jose police station. Rastica and Dulay were arrested for the same reason as Estrada.
Estrada was arrested on May 3 for allegedly violating social distancing measures and improperly handling food while distributing fish to residents of Barangay Salapan in San Juan.
BMP pointed out that Rastica and Dulay were arrested while they were picketing near their residences, despite wearing masks, observing social distancing, and carrying their respective quarantine passes.
“Jinggoy Estrada was released immediately by the police after they were detained for the same reason,” the BMP said.
The group mentioned that other citizens sharing the same cell with Rustica and Dulay were also arrested due to ECQ violations, but have been detained for more than a month now for not having lawyers to defend them.
Earlier today, the BMP posted on its Facebook page that Rustica and Dulay have been released from jail.
In a separate statement, Concerned Lawyers for Civil Liberties expressed concern on the government’s mass arrest of 92 persons tagged as ECQ ‘violators’ on Labor Day last week, which include relief workers, and people protesting about the government’s slow aid for vulnerable families in Iloilo.
“While allies of President Duterte were left untouched despite violations of quarantine rules, the government has dissenters for the same supposed violations,” CLCL said.
Bukluran likewise appealed that if the government will go easy on ECQ violations of government officials and allies of the administration, they should as well free all lockdown ‘violators.’
Based on the data of the Philippine National Police, there have been 136,517 quarantine violators since March 17, the day Duterte declared a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
Recently, citizens shared their negative sentiments about how the government seemed to just shrug off the quarantine violations of Senator Bong Go and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Deputy Administrator Mocha Uson.
Both Go and Uson separately hosted gatherings despite congregations being banned under the ECQ guidelines to combat the rapid spread of coronavirus, but are yet to be reprimanded for their violations.