Barangay chief in Caloocan resort ordered arrested, suspended

Barangay chief in Caloocan resort ordered arrested, suspended

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - May 13, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered the arrest of Barangay 171 chairman Romeo Rivera who has jurisdiction over the Gubat sa Ciudad resort in Caloocan City, which violated public health safety protocols last weekend.

“Our order, the directive is jail him. He was ordered to be arrested,” DILG Undersecretary for operations Epimaco Densing III said in an interview with “The Chiefs” on One News Tuesday night.

Densing said Rivera will be preventively suspended and charged for violating Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act and Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code for dereliction of duty.

Rivera denied he neglected his duties but admitted that he was out of the city for a Mother’s Day mass with family in Bulacan. He explained that he immediately ordered barangay watchmen to apprehend resort guests for defying a ban on mass gathering.

Densing, for his part, said Rivera could not use the argument that he was unaware of the activities at the resort.

“Barangays are so small that the barangay captains and their officials cannot make an excuse that they do not know what is happening in their barangays,” the DILG official said.

Densing also ordered DILG regional offices to check if mass gatherings are being committed at other similar establishments.

“We will be issuing an advisory to all our regional offices to monitor all resorts in all local government units which are under MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine) classification,” Densing said.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar reminded police commanders to closely supervise their respective areas of responsibility, following the relief of Caloocan police community precinct 9 commander Maj. Harold Aaron Melgar who has jurisdiction over the resort.

Eleazar said they will impose sanctions on Melgar if their investigation showed he was negligent.

“We will give him due process. But if the result of the probe shows that there is negligence on his part, he will definitely be charged,” he said in English and Filipino.

Caloocan mayor Oscar Malapitan said the owner of the Gubat sa Ciudad resort will face charges.

“According to the letter from the president of the corporation, they have a family dispute over the property, and that owner is not directly involved in the management. The owner should explain that to the courts,” he added.

In a separate dzMM interview, Malapitan said the patriarch of the De Guzman family which owns the corporation has died. The Northern Police District named the manager and owner as Aleli de Guzman. – Marc Jayson Cayabyab

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