Davao City court fines resident P5,000 for using fake COVID test | Inquirer News

Davao City court fines resident P5,000 for using fake COVID test

Public safety chief said the ruling showed the government’s seriousness in running after those who falsified documents related to the pandemic

DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — A resident here has been convicted of faking his reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result for the coronavirus disease and was ordered to pay about P5,000 for the violation.

Judge Catherine Guerzo-Barrion of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 4 in Davao City found Lloyd Alipin Abarquez guilty of presenting a spurious test result upon his arrival at Francisco Bangoy International Airport on Feb. 27 this year, according to the city information office, which released the ruling on Monday.

Abarquez was found to have violated both Section 9 of Republic Act No. 11332, the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases, and City Ordinance No. 0466-21, a local law that penalizes those who present falsified or tampered COVID-19 test results and other verification documents, the city government said.


The case against Abarquez was the first court-resolved complaint out of the 159 cases that the city government filed against persons who reportedly presented bogus RT-PCR test results upon entry to Davao City during the pandemic. Of the cases, 145 were filed through inquest proceedings and 14 through regular filing.


Similar complaints were also lodged in February 2020 before the Aklan provincial prosecutor’s office by the Department of Tourism against six tourists who entered Boracay Island with falsified RT-PCR tests in January last year.

Efforts not wasted

Aklan provincial administrator Selwyn Ibarreta, reached on Monday, said there had been no court decision on the complaints as these were still at the level of the provincial prosecutor’s office.

Angel Sumagaysay, head of the Public Safety and Security Command Center in Davao who represented the city government in court, said the conviction showed the seriousness of the government in running after those who falsified documents, especially those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added that while the penalty was not that heavy, the criminal offense would appear as a remark on the person’s official records, including “his police clearance, National Bureau of Investigation and court clearance,” Sumagaysay said.

“At least, the efforts of our personnel and the police primarily assigned at the airport were not wasted,” Sumagaysay said. “We are thankful that we are victorious against violators of RA 11332 because this involved health concerns. At least, we really pushed for the filing of cases against these violators,” he said.

Although the number of daily cases of COVID-19 had recently gone down in the city, the local government still requires a negative RT-PCR test result for those entering the locality.


Another surge not ruled out

Mayor Sara Duterte said last week she could not yet rule out the possibility of another surge as this manifested itself as a cycle.

She said that after the rise in cases in Metro Manila and Cebu, the cases in Davao City tended to follow. She said this was among the reasons she extended the curfew hours and liquor ban in the city until the end of the year.

Duterte has also reiterated her call on residents to have themselves vaccinated, especially in the face of threats of the so-called Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The city has incorporated the vaccination appointment “scheduler” into its Safe Davao Quick Response Code program to lure more city residents to get inoculated.

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The scheduler will arrange the schedule of those who want to get vaccinated, particularly those identified as members of the priority groups, like senior citizens and those who have health problems. INQ


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