MANILA – Public officials must follow the strict enforcement of the quarantine protocols imposed by the national government in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in the country, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said all government workers, especially those who are considered persons under investigation (PUIs) or persons under monitoring (PUMs), are not exempted from the implementation of the quarantine protocols.
“The protocols set by the government for persons under investigation or monitoring must be strictly and absolutely observed by all people falling under the said categories, regardless of their socio-political status,” Panelo said in a press statement.
Panelo’s statement came after Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, who tested positive for Covid-19, earned the public’s ire for supposed breach of infection and containment protocols.
Strict home quarantine must be observed by all PUIs and PUMs.
Makati Medical Center (MMC) on Wednesday slammed Pimentel for visiting the hospital’s premises to accompany his pregnant wife, Kathryna, despite being under strict home quarantine for suspected Covid-19 infection.
Pimentel, in a statement on Wednesday, said he only knew that he tested positive for Covid-19 when he was at MMC with his wife on March 24.
MMC said Pimentel merely added to the burden of the hospital’s medical staff responding to the Covid-19 pandemic in the country when he “unduly exposed healthcare workers to possible infection.”
Panelo said public servants should understand that the quarantine protocols set by the government are not meant to “discomfort or burden anyone.”
“They have been established to ensure that public health and safety are secured at all times. There are no exemptions for any person on these health protocols. Those holding high positions in the government are enjoined to set an example to their constituents by strictly observing them,” he said.
Apart from Pimentel, ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Yap on Wednesday confirmed that he is also infected with Covid-19.
Yap attended a meeting at Malacañan Palace on March 21 and the Congress’ special session for Covid-19 on March 23 before he learned that he tested positive for Covid-19.
The Presidential Security Group on Thursday said Yap could face charges for his alleged misdeclaration on his health condition when he attended the recent meeting at Malacañan.
Panelo said the Palace had already received reports about the government officials who purportedly breached the quarantine protocols.
He noted that since there are “conflicting” statements, the Office of the President would let concerned agencies look into the allegations, once there is a formal filing of complaint.
Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, ensured that violators would face punishment.
“The equal protection clause of the Constitution imposes equal treatment to all. Any transgressor therefore must be dealt with in accordance with law,” Panelo said. (ia/PNA)