Former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada filed his reply to the National Bureau of Investigation's letter asking him on his alleged quarantine violation on May 20, 2020.
The STAR/Edd Gumban
Health safety protocols followed in relief distribution, Jinggoy tells NBI
Kristine Joy Patag ( - May 20, 2020 - 2:53pm

MANILA, Philippines — Former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said health safety protocols were observed when he distributed bangus (milkfish) in a barangay in San Juan City.

The former lawmaker on Wednesday personally filed his reply to the National Bureau of Investigation’s invitation asking him about his alleged violation of quarantine protocols.

Police arrested — then promptly released — Estrada on May 3 while he was distributing relief goods to city residents without proper coordination and permission from the local government.

San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora said then that Estrada is not an "Authorized Person Outside Residence," a government term for people with quarantine passes or have certification that they are exempted from restrictions on movement during the quarantine. 

Estrada, in his letter reply to NBI Deputy Director Vicente De Guzman, said: “I distributed the milkfish there with mask and quarantine pass. I was even wearing my PPE suit and face shield during the distribution. Social distancing procedure was also observed."

He also told the NBI that he did not intend to violate the law, and he merely distributed fish his mother gave him that he said was more than his family needed.

“I do not think that helping feed the starving and the poor is a violation of law,” he added.

Other ECQ violators suffer in detention

Labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino criticized Estrada’s quick release after he was arrested.

The group draw a comparison between the arrest of other alleged quarantine violators, including BMP vice president Lito Rastica and labor leader Reynaldo Dulay and the former lawmaker’s case.

Rastica and Dulay share the cell with other detainees who were mostly held for breaking lockdown protocols although others there had been detained for more than a month for lack of a lawyer, Bukluran wrote on May 4.

Bukluran pointed out: “Police will arrest workers, the poor and activists for violating lockdown rules but when it comes to their own precincts, they do not follow it.”

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