Año: Pasay councilor’s cussing ‘excessive’
MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has left it to Pasay Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano to decide whether or not to sanction a city councilor who swore and shouted at health workers who were conducting tests for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at City Hall.
Año noted that a review of the viral video showed that Councilor Arnel Moti Arceo had not actually discriminated against the health workers although his swearing was “excessive.”
Arceo flew into a rage on May 19 when he found city health workers testing City Hall employees at the session hall, accusing them of putting people at risk of COVID-19. He later apologized for his “outburst of emotion.”
Ironically, Arceo took the video himself but claimed he did not know who had uploaded it.
“We are leaving [it to] Mayor Rubiano to [handle the incident and to] study what sanctions may be dealt. The best thing is to have a settlement but the city councilor’s cussing was really excessive so there should be a sanction against him,” Año said in an online interview on Monday on Teleradyo.
He pointed out that Rubiano was authorized to suspend or dismiss the councilor after an investigation by the city council. “The case can be filed with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) or the Office of the Ombudsman but for now, we are giving the mayor a chance to handle the matter.”
Año, however, agreed that it was a bad idea to put up the COVID-19 testing facility at the session hall because it endangered the lives of the city council and their staff, adding that the person who gave the order should be identified.
Even then, Año said that a miscommunication or misunderstanding was no reason to lash out as the better reaction should have been to clarify the matter.
The Inquirer learned that officials from the health department and the DILG saw the video and asked Rubiano to submit a report on further developments. A resolution on the matter is expected on Wednesday.
After the incident, the testing for other City Hall employees was moved from the session hall to the Pasay City Sports Complex.
Over 100 City Hall employees are expected to undergo testing daily for COVID-19 until May 29.
Those who test positive after a confirmatory test will be quarantined, said Public Information Office chief Jun Burgos, quoting the city health office.
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