Business groups released a joint statement Sunday calling out the double standard in the implementation of quarantine measures, saying public officials had violated the rules with impunity instead of “serving as role models in discipline.”

The groups also said “different interpretations” of quarantine rules had led to unwanted quarantine violations, which Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on May 28 said reached over 184,000, of which 54 percent were apprehended, 9 percent were given warnings and 37 percent were fined.

“Unfamiliarity with new rules” led to many suffering detention, unnecessary costs, humiliation, inconveniences and even unwarranted jail time, which further caused economic burdens, according to the business groups.

“Above happened even with the Supreme Court’s circulars that reduce bail and allow recognizance as among the means of releasing the accused. The compounding economic hardships and unfamiliarity with the new rules resulted in many people languishing in detention centers for many days, thus risking exposure to the virus in overcrowded facilities,” the statement read.

The business groups recalled the warning of Metro Manila police chief Debold SInas, that police would “arrest those who will not follow the guidelines.”

The police general was shown partying in viral photos on his birthday last May 8, despite the prohibition on mass gatherings, but still received support from the President.

“We are therefore greatly disappointed — even appalled and dismayed — about news reports of public officials violating with impunity the IATF and DOH protocols intended to protect public health,” the groups said.

They said leaders at the national and local levels should “demonstrate beyond doubt, the highest standards in observing and enforcing the rule of law, and serve as role models in discipline and moral ascendancy” amid the pandemic.

“Upholding the law and ensuring faith in our justice system stand as the bedrock of our democracy, and will enable the economy to survive and recover from these most trying times. The sacrifice of our people deserves nothing less,” the statement continued.

The joint statement was penned by the American and Canadian chambers of commerce of the Philippines, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, Institute for Solidarity in Asia, Inc., Institute of Corporate Directors, Judicial Reform Initiative, the Management Association of the Philippines and the Makati Business Club. John Ezekiel J. Hirro