Duterte warns courts vs. issuing TROs on vaping ban

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

November 20, 2019, 9:43 pm

<p>President Rodrigo R. Duterte</p>

President Rodrigo R. Duterte

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday sternly warned the courts against issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) on his latest directive to stop the use and importation of vaping devices and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) nationwide.

In a speech delivered during the 80th anniversary of the Department of National Defense at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, the President told the judiciary that he would not honor TROs that may be issued against his imposition of total ban on vaping.

"And I'm asking the judiciary, any judge, I'm asking myself to the Supreme Court, I'm here having a hard time controlling time and you know, all sorts of toxic materials being imbibed by the young. And there are some importations now," Duterte said.

"Judges, I warn you, do not issue restraining orders to the Customs, to the Coast Guard. I will not obey your order because of the peculiar situation this country finds," he added.

The President issued the warning just a day after he prohibited the use and importation of vaping devices all throughout the country.

Duterte's ban order came following the first reported case of an illness related to vaping involving a 16-year-old girl from Central Visayas who allegedly complained of "sudden-onset severe shortness of breath" after using e-cigarettes for six months.

Duterte, in his latest speech, told the courts not to meddle in his decision to forbid the use of vaping devices.

"Judges, I know that you can determine whether a vaping is good or not, but unfortunately, your indolence does not inspire confidence. It takes you too long to decide and so do not interfere in this," he said.

E-cigarettes, which vaporize a solution that users inhale, became popular among Filipinos who think it was a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes.

The President maintained that he had to prohibit e-cigarettes in the country, because vapers, including youth, do not realize the "dangers" of puffing it.

He also reiterated his order to the state forces to arrest anyone who will defy his order.

"Last night, I ordered all law enforcement agencies and the military, you are supposed to help in this campaign to arrest anybody vaping or even smoking in public," Duterte said.

"Do not worry. Just stop it. And the police, do your work. The armed forces, do your work. I will take full responsibility. Nobody else. Ako lang (It's just me)," the President said. (PNA)