JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra announced Thursday that he has advised PersidaRueda-Acosta, Chief Public Attorneys Office (PAO), about ensuring a Covid-19-free work environment in her office. She was vocal in her resistance to getting vaccinated.
Guevarra made the statement in response to Senator Franklin Drilons’ call for President Duterte not to allow Acosta to report for work. This comes as the government intensifies its campaign to inoculate more Filipinos with Covid-19.
The DOJ chief pointed out that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, (IATF), mandates that personnel reporting for work on-site be vaccinated.
However, those who insist to remain unvaccinated but are required to physically report for work are mandated to undergo RT-PCR or antigen testing at least every two weeks.
Guevarra stated that I had already advised PAO chief Acosta, regarding on-site work, to comply with all applicable government regulations as they relate to unvaccinated personnel. Guevarra also said that she wanted to ensure a Covid-safe environment in her agency, without sacrificing efficiency.
Acosta earlier warned to legally contest any punishment that would be imposed against her for being unvaccinated, arguing that the Bill of Rights of the Constitution mandates no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, and property without due process of law.
Earlier, Guevarra said that while Acosta has the legal right to refuse vaccination since there is no law making anti-Covid-19 vaccination mandatory in the country, the state has the power to regulate the movement of unvaccinated persons for the interest of public health or public safety.
Guevarra stated that while a person may choose not to be vaccinated, he/she is still required to comply with reasonable state regulations that affect unvaccinated people for the benefit of society as a whole.
Drilon said that Acosta’s refusal of being vaccinated is contrary to the government’s call for Filipinos and could further encourage vaccine hesitancy.