Complaint filed against barangay captain for Caloocan resort gathering
Controversial Gubat Sa Ciudad Resort at Brgy. 171 Caloocan City is now closed, ordered by the City government, the resort is operating despite the implementation of MECQ in the NCR bubble plus.
The STAR/Boy Santos

Complaint filed against barangay captain for Caloocan resort gathering

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - May 11, 2021 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — The city government of Caloocan has filed raps against Brgy. 171 Chairman Romeo Rivera for a mass gathering at a resort in the city on Sunday. 

To recall, the Gubat sa Ciudad Resort in Brgy. Bagumbong went viral on social media after photos surfaced of crowds swimming at the resort despite strict rules against public gatherings. 

Caloocan City Health Officer Evelyn Cuevas and Business Permits and Licensing Head Emmanual Vergara, a lawyer, filed the complaint before the Sangguniang Panlungsod on Tuesday afternoon. 

"The records submitted by [resort manager] Aleli de Guzman, showed and confirmed at least 500 registered guests and visitors on Sunday," the complaint reads, adding that barangay officials "appeared at the resort only at the late afternoon [that day] when city government officials had already trooped" there. 

"Due to the abject failure of [the barangay], there is now a real and renewed risk that COVID-19 transmissions in the barangay and city will be exacerbated."

Cuevas and Vergara motioned for Rivera to be preventively suspended for at least 60 days for gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service after "failing to monitor and prevent the illegal mass gathering."

They argued that the operations of the resort "could have easily been detected and publicly observed at sight and/or even in social media." As a result of the gaffe, they said, the city "was put in a bad light, causing it undue adverse publicity." 

"Worse, if respondent was fully aware of the said movement of and mass gathering of people, then he failed and/or refused to take timely and appropriate action," they wrote.

The city pointed to Interior Memorandum Circular No. 2020-062, which provides that local government units must enforce the prohibition on mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said earlier 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.

The commander of the Caloocan Police Sub-Station 9, Police Maj. Harold Aaron Melgar, was also relieved from his post Tuesday. Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief, said that the national police was also mulling cases against those photographed swimming at the resort.

Under guidelines from the coronavirus task force, resorts are only allowed to operate in areas under modified general community quarantine or looser classifications. Even then, capacity should be limited.

Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan said earlier Tuesday that the city is also readying raps against the establishment, which it has since ordered closed. 

To date, the Department of Health has recorded 1,108,826 cases of the pathogen after tallying 6,846 more infections Monday afternoon. 

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