Jinggoy’s 3-hour detention drew comparisons with ordinary Filipinos’ violent arrests

May 4, 2020 - 5:00 PM
Jinggoy Estrada in jacket
Former senator Jinggoy Estrada in an undated photo. (Phistar/Jan Milo Severo)

Comparisons were made on how the authorities treated former senator Jinggoy Estrada who was only given a “stern warning” after committing quarantine protocol violations while ordinary Filipinos were dealt with force and violence.

The former lawmaker was arrested by police officers on Sunday while distributing relief goods to some residents of San Juan City.

The younger Estrada was not carrying a quarantine pass with him, making him an unauthorized person outside of his residence, according to San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora.

The guidelines of the Philippine National Police state that only healthcare workers and those working in sectors deemed essential services, among others, are allowed to go out of the house.

While he has good intentions in the conduct of his relief operations, Zamora said Estrada failed to secure a permit from the city government which was required by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

“This is for the purpose of ensuring that the standing orders of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) and DILG will be observed strictly such as but not limited to social distancing, peace and order and health and sanitation,” Zamora said.

The mayor added that Estrada failed to follow social distancing protocols. This was also mentioned by a Twitter user who claimed to be living in the area where one of the former senator’s initiatives took place.

“People started to line up and it was SOOO unorganized and everyone was dispersed, every street may pila, as in sobrang daming tao. Walang social distancing, ang face mask ng iba ay hindi nakasuot nang tama,” the online user wrote.

She added that the fishes being handed out by the former senator was not wrapped in a plastic or a paper.

Zamora in statement said that the “unsanitary manner” of how the fishes were distributed could “possibly” add to the potential spread of the coronavirus disease to the locals.

He also denied the speculations that Estrada’s arrest was politically motivated.

“The arrest of Mr. Jinggoy Estrada has nothing to do with politics in San Juan, but has everything to do with law and order, especially so now that we are collectively fighting this local pandemic,” the city chief executive said.

The mayor added that he previously approved Jinggoy’s daughter, Vice Mayor Janella Estrada‘s request to seek a permit in running her “Rolling Botika” project amid the enhanced community quarantine.

Zamora said this proves that he did not “single out” the Estradas who once occupied the highest positions in the city government.

Jinggoy was released after three hours of detention at the San Juan Police Station.

“Binigyan lamang ng stern warning si dating Sen. Jinggoy Estrada na makipag-ugnayan sa LGU kung ito’y mamamahagi ng pagkain at sumunod lang sa panuntunan ng social distancing na ipinapatupad sa ilalim ng ECQ,” PNP’s Public Information Office said.

“Walang kaso na isinampa ang PNP laban sa kanya. Wala ring inaresto mula sa mga taong tumanggap ng pagkain,” it added.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, however, said that Jinggoy “violated ECQ guidelines” in his relief operations.

How other violators were dealt with 

Some Filipinos praised the authorities for arresting Estrada over quarantine protocol violations but his quick release was later on called out by some critics who couldn’t help but draw comparisons with how other violators were treated.

Broadcast journalist Lourdes Escaros said that if Estrada was a “nobody,” he could’ve been “arrested, mauled, jailed,” have a case “filed” against him or be freed with a bail amounting to “P3,000.”

She added that other quarantine violators are also subjected to “community service or humiliation” or be accused of supposedly fighting back against the authorities, otherwise known as “nanlaban.”

“But because he is Jinggoy Estrada. REPRIMAND IS ENOUGH!” Escaros exclaimed with ire.

Ordinary Filipinos who violated less grave quarantine protocols, such as the Spanish national’s househelper in Dasmariñas Village in Makati and the fish vendor in Quezon City, were not so lucky.

The househelper’s employee, Javier Parra, was held on the ground by a police officer within his property despite having a “back injury.” The househelper was reprimanded for not wearing a face mask in public.

The fish vendor, on the other hand, was physically assaulted by barangay watchmen for failing to wear a mask and not having a quarantine pass. He was hit by sticks and dragged on the road despite residents’ pleas.

The Quezon City government has already fired the official involved in the incident. It has also required its task force members to secure body cameras while on duty.

The case of Koko and Mocha 

A Twitter user also recalled how other quarantine protocol violators with position, such as Sen. Koko Pimentel and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration deputy administrator Mocha Uson, received a non-violent approach compared to their fellow Filipinos.

Pimentel breached protocol guidelines when he went to the Makati Medical Center and accompanied his wife despite being considered a “person under investigation” for the novel coronavirus and therefore, subjected to home quarantine.

The justice department earlier said that it will observe “compassion” in Pimentel’s case but the latter eventually received a summon from the National Bureau of Investigation after much public uproar.

He is supposed to be summoned after recovering from the viral disease. Pimentel was declared “negative” of the virus on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Uson was accused of being in a mass gathering with OFWs who were supposed to be quarantined in Batangas.

OWWA administrator Hans Cacdac defended Uson, saying that she only reminded the OFW of quarantine protocols since there were reports of them going to the beach.

He also asked for the public’s understanding since community outreach is an “important part” of their initiatives.

Malacañang only distanced itself from the incident and said that it will leave OWWA to decide on the matter.