De Lima decries plight of a doctor under police custody


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has slammed the arrest of a doctor who was detained for almost four days for biking without a face shield, which is allowed under an inter-agency memorandum exempting cyclists from mandatory use of face shields when biking.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, cited the DOH, DOTr, DILG and DPWH Joint Administrative Order No. 2020-0011 stating that bikers are not required to use face shields when using their bike for safety purposes.

“A doctor who could be saving patients’ lives was detained merely because the authorities failed to properly discern and apply the guidelines involving the use of face shield while riding on a bike,” she said.

“Meanwhile, other people in the positions of power who violated quarantine protocols managed to easily get away with their violations and were not reprimanded. Can we ever forget about the Manañita? This, and many more other quarantine violations committed by people holding powerful position in government,” she added.

The lady Senator from Bicol further said that the selective justice in the country, as highlighted by the recent incident, is nothing but appalling.

Kapag nasa kapangyarihan at may koneksyon, pwede kang palampasin sa mga violations mo, pero kapag karaniwang mamamayan, aarestuhin, ikukulong o kaya naman ay pinahihirapan. May naiulat pa ngang binawian ng buhay!,” she added. 

Reportedly, a doctor from Cainta who remains unnamed has been detained for three nights following his arrest on April 4 for biking without a face shield. Cainta prosecutors had already approved charges of simple disobedience and unjust vexation against the doctor.

According to the tweet thread from an account claiming to be the doctor’s friend, the healthcare practitioner was biking to work when he was stopped for purportedly not wearing a face shield.

 The said friend added that the doctor was supposedly thrown into a detention facility with roughly 200 other detainees afterwards.

Under Joint Memorandum circular no. 2021-0001, “due to the possible vision impairment face shields bring, bikers and users of other forms of active transport are exempted from the mandatory use of face shields outside of their residences provided that they wear face shields before and after biking or engaging in any other active transport.”

Aside from condemning the unjust arrest and detention of the doctor, De Lima expressed concern over the condition of detainees inside the police detention cells.

“Authorities cannot disregard the health of Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs), considering that we are in the middle of the pandemic where it is so easy to transmit the deadly virus,” she said.

“If it is indeed true that the doctor was thrown into a detention facility with roughly 200 other detainees, then transmission of virus was easy. Naisip sana nila ang panganib na dala ng kapabayaang ito. Napakaraming buhay ang maaaring nalagay sa peligro,” she added.

Following reports that cyclists are being arrested for not wearing face shields, the DOH reiterated on April 8 that cyclists and other active transport users are not required to wear face shields because of potential safety risks. (30)

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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