Panelo urges gov’t execs to follow quarantine protocols

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo on Thursday called on government officials to strictly follow quarantine protocols in a bid to stop the spread of the dreaded COVID-19.

Panelo issued the statement after administration Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Yap have been accused of violating protocols on separate occasions.

“The protocols set by the government for persons under investigation or monitoring must be strictly and absolutely observed by all people falling under the said categories, regardless of their socio-political status,” Panelo said in a statement.

“There are no exemptions for any person on these health protocols. Those holding high positions in the government are enjoined to set an example to their constituents by strictly observing them,” he added.

Panelo said any violators, government official or not, must be dealt with in accordance with the law.

“The equal protection clause of the Constitution imposes equal treatment to all. Any transgressor therefore must be dealt with in accordance with law,” he said.

Despite being a person under investigation for COVID-19, Pimentel brought his wife Kathryna to the posh Makati Medical Center Tuesday evening, as she was scheduled to give birth Wednesday morning.

The Pimentels said that they were already at the hospital when the senator received the news about his test results.

” I was informed late last night March 24, 2020, (Tuesday) that I have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The swab was taken last Friday, March 20, 2020,” Pimentel said in a statement.

On the other hand, Yap also confirmed he had tested positive for COVID-19. He said he took the test last March 15 and attended a meeting in Malacañang and the special session of the House of Representatives last March 23.

The government earlier warned that quarantine violators may be arrested and charged for violating Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code which “punishes resistance and disobedience to a person in authority or the agents of such person” and violation of Republic Act No. 11332 — the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

RA 11332 provides polices and measures for surveillance and response to notifiable diseases and protect Filipinos from any public health threats. One of its prohibited act is the “non-cooperation of the person or entities identified as having the notifiable disease, or affected by the health event of public concern.”

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