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The Supreme Court temporarily stopped yesterday the implementation of curfew imposed on children and those below 18-years-old in Manila, Quezon City, and Navotas City.
In a Temporary Restraining Order issued after its full court session, the SC said that detention or restraint of minor apprehended during curfew period, normally from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., may be illegal.
“The Court, acting on the petition for certiorari and prohibition with application for a temporary restraining order challenging the ‘Curfew Ordinances’ of the three local governments as ultra vires for being contrary to Republic Act 9334 (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act), issued a temporary restraining order effective immediately and until further orders enjoining the three local government units from implementing and enforcing the Curfew Ordinances,” spokesman Theodore O. Te said, quoting from the SC resolution.
The SC acted on the petition filed by the Samahan ng mga Progresibong Kabataan which named as respondents Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada, and Navotas City Mayor John Rey Tiangco.
The three city mayors were ordered to answer SPARK’s petition in 10 days.
SPARK said curfew is unconstitutional because it results in arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement as a result of its vagueness; it suffers from overbreadth by impairing legitimate activities of minors during curfew hours; deprives minors of the right to liberty and the right to travel without substantive due process; and deprives parents of the natural and primary right in the rearing of the youth without substantive due process.”
In Manila, the groups said the curfew ordinance is invalid for being contrary to Republic Act No. 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act which prohibits the imposition of curfew except if it is for the protection of the child and the child or minor is not punished.
The petition cited several instances of alleged indiscriminate enforcement of curfew.
“The arbitrary application and enforcement of the curfew ordinances are inevitable given that law enforcers only conduct a visual inspection of alleged minors violating the curfew. The determination of the age of the alleged curfew violators will be subjective depending on the law enforcer’s assessment of a person’s face and body physique,” the petition stated. (REY G. PANALIGAN)