Couple that failed to turn in traveler’s health statement is arraigned
By The Star Staff
A couple who on Jan. 2 failed to submit a traveler’s statement related to COVID-19, and who barricaded themselves with their children inside a car in Caguas to avoid arrest, were arraigned by a San Juan court Wednesday.
Zulma Figueroa, 53, and Luis Ángel Colón, 44, failed to show up Tuesday at a scheduled court hearing in Carolina. The judge in the case issued an arrest warrant against them.
When the police officers showed up, the couple and their children locked themselves in their vehicle in Caguas to avoid arrest.
Both are accused of violating article 246 of the Penal Code (resisting or obstructing the exercise of authority), for which they face a six-month prison sentence.
San Juan Court Judge Raiza Cajigas, through videoconference, scheduled the start of the trial for Feb. 8, but in the Carolina Court.
During the ordeal Tuesday night, Figueroa, who has been dubbed the “Puerto Rican Karen” for refusing to obey the executive order on COVID-19 protocols, revealed her version of the events via social media.
“Here in my vehicle, where the Health Department, because now it is not the Police, it is the Health Department that believes it has jurisdiction to restrict freedom for citizens, men and women of this land of Puerto Rico,” she said. “I am not the legal person that was summoned with that lie that [the Secretary of Health, Carlos] Mellado is telling that I was summoned. I presented myself yesterday to the Legal Division of the Puerto Rico Department of Health and I left some notifications and clear laws and I am waiting for them. They were given five days to reply.”
Meanwhile, Citizen Victory Movement Rep. Mariana Nogales proposed on Wednesday that all violations to executive orders be considered administrative violations with fines of up to $500.
“We can’t continue to give blank checks to the executive branch, more so in a government that has been shown to be authoritarian and hate democracy,” the lawmaker said. “The system of checks and balances must be respected and we must protect people from abusive laws.”
The courts have already determined that laws establishing limits to stop the spread of COVID-19 are constitutional.