PSG eyes raps vs in­fected law­maker

The Philippine Star - - FRONT PAGE - Christina Men­dez, Romina Cabr­era, Alexis Romero

The Pres­i­den­tial Se­cu­rity Group (PSG) plans to file charges against ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap, who re­cently tested pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus dis­ease 2019 (COVID-19), for breach­ing se­cu­rity and health pro­to­col when he at­tended a meet­ing with top ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials on March 21 at Mala­cañang.

“(There is) an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion, I al­ready sent a team from our task force. If it is re­ally nec­es­sary that we file a case against him, we will,” PSG com­man­der Col. Je­sus Du­rante III said.

Apart from some Cabi­net mem­bers who have opted to go on self-quar­an­tine, at least 20 peo­ple from the PSG and staff of the Office of the Pres­i­dent were placed un­der quar­an­tine pro­ce­dures for

hav­ing di­rect in­ter­ac­tion with Yap, House ap­pro­pri­a­tions com­mit­tee chair.

Palace of­fi­cials said Yap has en­dan­gered the lives of peo­ple in the seat of power, which could have in­cluded Pres­i­dent Duterte had he at­tended the meet­ing last week­end.

Duterte was not part of the meet­ing but among the at­ten­dees were Ex­ec­u­tive Secretary Sal­vador Me­di­aldea, Se­nate Pres­i­dent Vi­cente Sotto III, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Sens. Bong Go and Pia Cayetano, Rep. LRay Vil­la­fuerte, Fi­nance Secretary Car­los Dominguez III, In­te­rior Secretary Ed­uardo Año, Bud­get Secretary Wen­dell Avisado, De­fense Secretary Delfin Loren­zana, Pres­i­den­tial Ad­viser for the Peace Process Car­l­ito Galvez and So­cial Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista, some of whom have opted to un­dergo self-quar­an­tine.

While the PSG has been im­ple­ment­ing strict se­cu­rity mea­sures for all who are go­ing in the Palace, Du­rante lamented that Yap seemed to have vi­o­lated the rules.

“We are let­ting them sign a dec­la­ra­tion form. The prob­lem with Cong. Yap, he did not de­clare that he had con­tacts with peo­ple who were found pos­i­tive and he has cough and that he has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some symp­toms.”

.Un­der the PSG form, vi­o­la­tors may face charges for vi­o­la­tion of Ar­ti­cle 171 and 172 of the Re­vised Pe­nal Code, which is re­lated to the crime of fal­si­fi­ca­tion of doc­u­ment which has a penalty of not more than P5,000 and im­pris­on­ment from two years, four months and one day to six years.

The PSG is man­dat­ing all vis­i­tors and of­fi­cials to an­swer a dec­la­ra­tion form which has ques­tions per­tain­ing to the his­tory of travel, res­pi­ra­tory in­spec­tion and pos­si­ble ex­po­sure to COVID-19 pa­tients in the last 14 days.

It has a clause wherein the signatory vows for the ve­rac­ity of the in­for­ma­tion with a warn­ing that “fail­ure to an­swer any ques­tion or any fal­si­fied re­sponse may have se­ri­ous con­se­quences un­der Ar­ti­cle 171 & 172 of the Re­vised Pe­nal Code.”

Du­rante said he does not think there were any lapses with PSG per­son­nel but he has or­dered a full-blown in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Se­na­tor Go said it is un­for­tu­nate that Yap had tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19.

“I’ve just been work­ing the past few days. I don’t have any of the symp­toms. But since pro­to­col re­quires that those who were di­rectly ex­posed to per­sons pos­i­tive for COVID-19 need to un­dergo self-quar­an­tine, I am left with no choice but to comply,” he said.

Pres­i­den­tial spokesman Sal­vador Panelo urged those who have in­ter­acted with Yap to un­dergo 14 days self-quar­an­tine pro­to­col.

Año, one of the two lead im­ple­menters of the Lu­zon­wide COVID-19 lock­down and des­ig­nated as vice-chair of the Na­tional Ac­tion Plan against COVID-19, said that he has opted to go on self-quar­an­tine ef­fec­tive March 25.

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