As a response to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s another reckless statement to the public, giving the impression that the government can just easily use “police power” and order arrest on people who don’t want to get vaccinated against the alleged or unproven infectious disease called COVID-19, Nicanor Perlas, the founder of “COVID Call To Humanity” has released an article refuting Duterte’s claims. In his article published on September 29, Mr. Perlas presented various links of publication discussing the scientific reasons why the so-called “anti-vaxxers” refuse to take the jab. According to Perlas:
“Duterte says that people like us who do not want to be vaccinated should just keep our opinions to ourselves. This is where he made a grave error. Our decision to not take the COVID vaccine is not based on opinion. It is based on science showing us that vaccines are useless. Our decision to speak up is based on our conscience. We know these vaccines are dangerous, how can we just keep quiet and watch other people die because of our silence?”
This statement was written by Nicanor Perlas after President Duterte threatened to use the government’s “police power” against those who don’t want to take the shot just a few days ago. Duterte’s main reason for doing this is that, according to him, unvaccinated people are “carriers of the virus”. This notion, however, has no science or studies behind it and if you take a look at the data, it tells a very different story. First, there is no distinction between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated persons as they are both susceptible to infection, that’s according to their narrative itself. This is the reason why they still advise the vaccinated persons to wear a facemask, regularly wash their hands, and do social distancing; to follow the same useless protocols. Second, when you try to look at the hospitalization and the mortality rate from the Department of Health’s (DOH) data itself, you will see that many of the people who are hospitalized or believed to have died from COVID are vaccinated. This happens a lot not only in the country but also in other places as well.
This is not the first time that President Duterte threatened the Filipino public. In June of this year, he also announced at his press briefing that the people who refuse to get the shots will get arrested. Aside from that, he also stated that barangay authorities should “prevent unvaccinated persons from leaving their homes”. Perhaps, it is also through his suggestion that people cannot get a government ration if they don’t get vaccinated. These baseless declarations (or subtle coercion), unfortunately, have pushed hundreds or thousands of anxious Filipinos to get the COVID shot even though they don’t want to because they think it will harm them. What they don’t know is that it was clearly written in the country’s vaccination bill (RA 11525 – Section 12) that it is not legal for any agency or institution to use the vaccination card/certificate as a condition for any transaction. Sadly, this law is being disregarded or sometimes being violated by the government officials themselves.
Meanwhile, talking about Duterte’s seemingly tyrannical behavior, Perlas continued:
“Duterte is also lying. He says “we are not threatening you”, but this is exactly what he is doing, when he said that the “police must go in and intervene in your private life so that you cannot be a danger to society”. Is he saying that the police now has the mandate to do what it wants, disregarding science and all the laws of this country, just because he orders them to do something? He must be crazy to think that he can lord over this country of heroes. What he is doing is preparing people for more stringent measures bordering on authoritarianism, such as those found in Australia.”
So can the president really use “police power” to compel us to get vaccinated? Of course, the straight answer is “no”. On its September 29 episode, Juan Dakila TV, a loose group of volunteers helping Filipinos in fighting the “scamdemic” through virtual legal assistance, explained to the public why this statement from the president cannot be possible. As its core member Attorney Aaron Suguilon has elaborated:
“For the president to do this (enforce mandatory vaccination), there has to be a law that could compel the citizens and not just pure “pronouncement”. It’s also not possible with just executive order (EO), there has to be a law…”
Talking about the hierarchy of laws, the lawyer continued:
“The executive branch is there only to execute the laws; there are other people who make the law, these are the senators and congressmen… even the president and all the agencies under his office, such as the IATF, DOH, etc., all they can do is execute the laws. If there are no laws to enforce, they cannot take action. Substantive due process , meaning there should be a law and that law should be consistent with the constitution.”
In addition, Attorney Aaron Suguilon also explained that another reason why the president’s announcement cannot be possible is that it directly violates our constitutional rights. On Section 1 of Article 3 for example, the Bill of Rights says:
“No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”
To watch the full video, go to this link:
Featured image: https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2021/6/15/PNP-chief-vaccination-not-required-police.html