The Presidential Security Group (PSG) head is considering filing charges against ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap for breaching quarantine protocols by attending a March 21 meeting in Malacañang despite showing symptoms of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
“If really needed, we could file a case against him for the breach na ginawa niya (for the breach in quarantine protocol that he did),” Col. Jesus Durante III said in a phone interview on Thursday.
He said Yap, who admitted that he tested positive for Covid-19 on March 25, filled out a health declaration form before entering the Palace last March 21, but failed to disclose that he had contact with people who were infected by the disease.
“Ang problema, itong si (The problem is) Congressman Yap, he did fill up the form but he did not declare na may (that he had) contact siya with some people who were found positive. And he has cough, he has been experiencing some symptoms. Di niya lahat dineclare ito (He didn’t declare this),” he said.
He said since Yap got himself tested last March 15, it meant that “he was already doubtful” about his condition. But instead of undergoing self-quarantine, he still showed up at the meeting.
“On his declaration form, he specified ‘no’ to every question when the mere fact mga statement niya naman na lumabas is dapat ‘yes’ yung sagot niya (is his statements show that he should have answered ‘yes’),” he said.
Updated health declaration forms
While the investigation for possible lapses is ongoing, Durante said he did not see any mistakes committed by any PSG personnel present during the meeting.
“This incident shall serve as a reference for PSG’s implementation of enhanced screening measures for all those who enter Malacañang Complex,” he said.
He said the PSG will also be revising their health declaration forms to add more details which guests will be required to declare, such as whether or not a person has been tested for Covid-19.
In the current health declaration forms, details visitors have to declare include contact tracing and monitoring, Covid-19 symptoms check, and travel history.
By breaching quarantine protocol, he said Yap “endangered” at least 20 people present during the meeting including at least six PSG members, some cabinet members, lawmakers, and Palace staff.
President Rodrigo Duterte had only attended the meeting via teleconference.
“From the very beginning ito yung iniiwasan talaga natin na mangyari, na ma-contaminate itong Malacañang Complex (this was what we were trying to avoid, that Malacañang Complex would be contaminated),” he said.
He said all those present during the meeting are now declared as persons under investigation (PUIs) and are now under self-quarantine.
To enhance efforts to ensure Duterte’s safety amid the pandemic, Durante said the PSG continues to restrict the President from attending meetings and interacting with visitors.
He, meanwhile, urged the public to cooperate with the PSG by being honest in answering their health declaration forms.
“Ang bottomline naman nito (here) is we are fighting Covid-19 this is actually for the safety for good health for every one of us, not only the President,” he said.
Besides Yap, a number of House employees have already been found positive for Covid-19 including one death.
Work from home
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, meanwhile, said he will also undergo self-quarantine after Yap tested positive for Covid-19.
Since several Cabinet members who were present during the March 21 meeting are undergoing self-quarantine, he said it only made sense to do the same.
“Wala naman sa protocol na mag-quarantine kami pero ang ilan sa amin minabuti na lang po namin, katulad ko na mag-voluntary self-quarantine na lamang (It’s not in the protocol that we need to undergo quarantine but some of us thought it is best to undergo self-quarantine),” he said.
Nograles, spokesperson for the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases, said work will continue through teleconference.
He said he did not want to fuel public displeasure caused by politicians who continued to travel freely despite showing Covid-19 symptoms. PNA.GOV.PH