Unconstitutional says expert: Government required to request state of emergency for anticovid measures

Nassef Perdomo is a constitutional expert. (File).

For constitutional expert Nassef Perdomo, the recent measures taken by the Government to counteract the coronavirus contrast with what is established in the Constitution of the Dominican Republic regarding the faculties that the Ministry of Public Health has for such purposes.

He understands that, although there is no fundamental right to put the health of the citizens at risk in the country, the Ministry of Public Health has not implemented the measures as are required.

“What happens is that these measures are opposable to the sectors of the national health system. That is, hospitals, health professionals, some businesses that are linked to human health, but it does not go beyond that. (…) However, to make an extraordinarily broad interpretation, as the Ministry of Health has done, to say: I can use these administrative powers to control the activity of private persons and the public in general is not what the law foresees,” explained the expert.

He considers that, although the measures are good in substance, as they seek to alleviate the crisis caused by the pandemic, all the powers of the public administration must be subject to the Constitution.

Based on the above, during an interview in the program “El Dia,” which is transmitted by Telesitema, channel 11, Perdomo assured that what would have been advisable would have been for the Executive Power to request another state of emergency but without a curfew, to take the provisions that were announced several days ago, which also includes the prohibition of entry to public and private places for people who do not present the vaccination card against COVID-19.

He believes that what the government authorities have adopted is worrisome.

“I believe that the Ministry of Health has made an excessively broad interpretation of its powers. It can be called an abuse ofpower. When you set a precedent that an administrative body, in an administrative manner, can limit fundamental rights, even without having achieved the public hearing that the law foresees for this type of situation, then you open the door so that in the future, for any circumstance, this can also be done in this way”, said Perdomo, who also assured that how the measure was taken goes against the rule of law.

This decision was enacted without the proper procedure of a critical hearing and public participation, which are both required.

On October 8, the Ministry of Public Health ordered by resolution a series of measures that should come into effect as of 5:00 a.m. this Monday, October 18, due to the lifting of the state of emergency ordered by the Executive Power for the same date.

Using resolution 000048, but without proper process or protocol, Public Health provided that to attend workplaces with enclosed spaces and collective use in person, those over 12 years of age must present an identity document and their vaccination card with at least two doses of the vaccine against COVID-19.