PNP eyeing raps over Caloocan City pool party

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
PNP eyeing raps over Caloocan City pool party
People are seen swimming in a pool at Gubat Sa Ciudad Resort in Caloocan City on Sunday despite the implementation of MECQ in the NCR+ bubble.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police said it is ready to file cases against the owner of the Caloocan City resort where people were seen swimming on Sunday while people who went to the resort despite quarantine restrictions may also face charges.

The Gubat sa Ciudad Resort in Barangay Bagumbong went viral on social media after photos surfaced of crowds swimming at the resort while Metro Manila is under strict rules against public gatherings. 

"The PNP will really file a case against the owner. If evidence warrants, we can also file cases [against the Filipinos swimming] in the regular filing. We will see if the barangay can also be held liable and the establishment," Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief, said at a press briefing Monday. 

"Of course, we'll have to investigate first...they'll have to justify why they let that happen."

Ubder guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, resorts are only allowed to operate in areas under General Community Quarantine and Modified GCQ. Even then, capacity will be limited.

Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan has since ordered the closure of the establishment for operating while the national capital region and nearby provinces are under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.

Asked how the PNP can go about tracking down all the swimmers, Eleazar said: "The best thing to do is to prevent it from happening. So we're appealing to establishments not to hold these events or to prevent them."

"The point is that this should serve as a lesson and warning again to all others, not just the establishment but including the barangay chairman. They need to find a way to make sure this won't happen again," Eleazar said. 

Local execs to face raps over quarantine lapses

In a separate statement Sunday afternoon, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said that failure on the part of local officials to enforce IATF resolutions may lead to charges filed against them for dereliction of duty based on Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code.

“Local government units have a critical role in enforcing mass gathering regulations as they are nearer to their constituencies compared to the national government. What LCEs can do is to adopt and implement guidelines and policies of the Inter-Agency Task Force as well as enact necessary local policies to support these regulations,” said Año.

Separate administrative sanctions may likewise be imposed on them under the Local Government Code.

“An administrative complaint or criminal case may be filed against negligent local chief executives. The DILG does not want things to come to this so I hope the LGUs will properly implement the policy on mass gatherings according to the quarantine classification in their area."

This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte in a televised address to the public on Wednesday night ordered cops to arrest face mask violators. 

“My orders to the police are those who are not wearing their masks properly in order to protect the public—because if not, if you cannot defend the public—to arrest them and detain them, investigate why they are doing it. They have nine hours,” he said.

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