OCD, service providers should also be probed on police doctor’s death — PNP
MANILA, Philippines — Service providers as well as the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) should be included in the investigation on the death of police doctor Capt. Casey Gutierrez for accidental toxin inhalation at a government-run quarantine facility in Pasig, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Monday.
Last May 24, three police officers, including Gutierrez, were accidentally sprayed with a concentrated decontamination solution at the OCD-managed Philippine Sports Arena, one of the facilities converted by the government into a temporary treatment and monitoring facility to beef up capacity to reduce the community spread of COVID-19.
PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which stands to conduct a parallel probe into the matter, should also look into the possible culpability of the OCD, an attached agency of the Department of National Defense tasked to manage the quarantine facility, and which chose the service providers there.
“I hope NBI, if they will acquire jurisdiction over the case, I hope they will include everything from the service provider, from OCD hanggang sa PNP,” Gamboa said in a press briefing.
“Both PICC and Ultra, lahat doon ay actually being managed by OCD. So it’s OCD who will put in there service providers. Sila ‘yung may power to procure kung sino ‘yung service providers na ilagay nila,” he added.
(The quarantine facilities are being managed by OCD so it is OCD who will put the service providers there. They have the power to procure which service provider they will tap.)
Aside from Gutierrez, also injured in the incident were Staff Sgt. Steve Rae Salamanca, and Cpl. Runie Toledo.
The spray made it difficult for the officers to breathe.
Salamanca and Toledo were treated at the PNP General Hospital, but Gutierrez died on May 30 at the Lung Center of the Philippines due to inhalation injuries, the PNP said.
On the part of the PNP, Gamboa said he has already directed PNP deputy chief for administration Police Lieutenant General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan to probe the “administrative flow” of the matter.
The probe seeks not only to find who is liable for the incident but to point out aspects which need to be improved in managing quarantine facilities, he added.
“Hopefully ‘yung ating investigation will see results to improve protocol and procedures in these quarantine areas,” the PNP chief said.
“Ang pinaka-primary namin na consideraion is the welfare of our personnel (Our primary consideration is the welfare of our personnel),” he added.
The PNP earlier asked the Department of Health (DOH) to lead an independent investigation on the death of Gutierrez.
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