DILG: NBI summons to Vico Sotto a 'useless, political distraction' amid COVID-19 crisis

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
DILG: NBI summons to Vico Sotto a 'useless, political distraction' amid COVID-19 crisis
In this July 16, 2019 photo, Pasic Mayor Vico Sotto attends the vaccination campaign of the Department of Health at Pasig City Elementary School.
Philstar.com / Efigenio Toledo IV, file

MANILA, Philippines — The spokesperson of Department of Interior and Local Government said that the National Bureau of Investigation summon sent to Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto is “useless distraction” as the government addresses the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya told CNN Philippines that in his opinion, the NBI’s invitation to Sotto is “a useless, political distraction.”

Malaya also clarified that the NBI invitation was the Bureau’s own action, and even Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra “does not support” it.

“When this story came out, I immediately talked to our colleagues at the DOJ and Secretary Guevarra made a clarification clearly stating that he does not support the action of NBI,” he told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

This was because the basis of the summons was on “the alleged violation of the Bayanihan Act was done prior to the passage of the Bayanihan Act,” he added.

The NBI in its letter to Sotto said they request his explanation on “alleged violation of Section 6(a) of the Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. (e.g. continuous tricycle operation).”

But Sotto said on March 19 that Pasig local government will comply with national directives which include suspension of mass transportation across Luzon.

RA 11469, meanwhile, was signed into law on March 24. The penal provisions of any law, including the Bayanihan Act, “are not applied retroactively unless the offense is a continuing crime and its commission has not been stopped,” Guevarra said Wednesday.

Malaya also said that Sotto “was already cooperative” after the DILG requested that the operation of tricycles in the city be stopped.

“So there is really no issue in so far as the DILG is concerned now,” Malaya added.

Issue politicized

Sotto, meanwhile, said that he agrees with NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin that the issue has been “politicized and sensationalized.”

But the city mayor urged Lavin to “stop and think why it reached this point.”

He pointed out that the bureau “leaked” the copy of the letter to a reporter and when the letter was officially received by his office, members of the media were also present.

“This is a time of crisis. From the barangay to national [level], we need cooperation,” he added in Filipino.

Sotto, in a chance interview Wednesday night, said that the summons is “hassle” but he will not be distracted with his duty to address the crisis.

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: March 27, 2021 - 8:09pm

Photo shows members of the Philippine National Police deployed in Manila amid COVID-19 threat. The STAR/Edd Gumban

President Rodrigo Duterte on March 16, 2020 declares an enhanced community quarantine over all of mainland Luzon, an expansion of an earlier general community quarantine over the National Capital Region.

The entire National Capital Region—16 cities and a municipality—is under community quarantine from March 15 to April 14, which means the enforcement of social distancing measures like letting fewer people on public transportation, reduced store hours, and the possibiity of curfews.

According to a memorandum issued by the Palace on Saturday, March 14, the quarantine means that "movement of people shall be limited to accessing basic necessities and work; and uniformed personnel and quarantine officers shall be present at border points."

Travel restrictions in and out of the capital will also be implemented.

March 27, 2021 - 8:09pm

A labor group says another lockdown will never resolve rising COVID-19 cases in the Philippines after the government announced that Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal are placed under the enhanced community quarantine starting Monday.

“The Duterte government seems to be deliberate in focusing its efforts in imposing quarantine and lockdown measures instead of addressing the rising cases of COVID-19 and the worsening state of the pandemic through medical solutions and scientific approach,” says Defend Jobs Philippines.



March 27, 2021 - 7:06pm

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says the implementation of enhanced community quarantine is meant to slow down the increase of COVID-19 cases, so hospitals and health workers will not be overwhelmed.

March 27, 2021 - 6:37pm

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announces that Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal are placed under enhanced community quarantine starting Monday, March 29.

January 19, 2021 - 6:04pm

Tuguegarao City will be placed under enhanced community quarantine from January 20 to 29 due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city.

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba approved the request of Tuguegarao Mayor Jefferson Soriano to place the city under ECQ for 10 days.

According to the Cagayan Provincial Information Office, the city currently has 246 active cases.


Posted by Cagayan Provincial Information Office on Tuesday, 19 January 2021
April 29, 2020 - 7:51pm

Batangas, one of the provinces hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, has reported no new cases of the disease for two consecutive days.

The provincial DOH Office says the number of COVID-19 cases in the province stood at 91 with no new cases as of Wednesday afternoon.

Lipa City has the most cases with 26, followed by Batangas City (21) and Nasugbu (11).

Tanauan City has the fourth most cases with eight, followed by Bauan (5) and Alitagtag (3). Cuenca and Sto. Tomas City had two cases each, while the municipalities of Calaca, Lemery, Lian, Lobo, Mabini, Mataas na Kahoy, Padre Garcia, San Jose, San Juan, San Pascual and Taal had one case each, respectively. — The Filipino Connection

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