‘Poblacion girl,’ parents, others to face raps over quarantine breach
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) is set to file cases against the Filipino woman who breached quarantine protocols after arriving from the United States, as well as eight others, including her parents.
“The CIDG Regional Field Unit NCR, the unit handling the case, was already able to establish the facts relative to the case of the Returning Overseas Filipino (ROF), Gwyneth Anne Chua,” the CIDG said in a statement Monday.
The CIDG said its investigation found that the woman checked in at the Berjaya Hotel Makati on Dec. 22 at 11:23 p.m. but was “fetched from the same hotel by her own father with an SUV and drove off” less than 20 minutes later.
Investigators also confirmed her presence at a restaurant in Makati City on the night of Dec. 23.
“On December 25, 2021 at 9:00 PM, Ms. Chua returned to the hotel assisted by her mother,” the CIDG noted.
The CIDG said the woman violated Rule XI Section 1 (g) (iii), (iv) of the IRR of Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
“CIDG’s investigators concluded that Ms. Chua, being a Returning Filipino Overseas (RFO) is obliged to follow the health protocol being imposed by IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) & DOH (Department of Health) nd her action of leaving the quarantine facility and disregarding the quarantine procedure violated Rule XI Section 1 (g) (iii), (iv) of the IRR of R.A. 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act),” the CIDG said.
Aside from Chua, the CIDG said it will be filing cases against her parents and several personnel of the hotel.
“CIDG will be filing cases against nine persons, including Ms. Chua, her father and mother, and several personnel of the hotel (quarantine facility). As for the individuals who were in the company of Gwyneth Anne Chua on the night of December 23, 2021 and were allegedly infected by the virus, CIDG did not find sufficient evidence to charge them with any offense in relation to the violations committed by Ms. Chua,” the CIDG said.
“However, CIDG recommends and encourages the said individuals to file a complaint before CIDG for further referral to the prosecutors office,” it added.
The CIDG, meanwhile, confirmed that the woman is currently being isolated in one of the isolation facilities in Metro Manila after her RT-PCR test came out positive last Dec. 26.
“The investigators of CIDG were effective in the collection of evidence due to the cooperation of the management of the establishments involved, several concerned and responsible citizens who came forward to help in the investigation, and the availability of the CCTV footages that allowed us to corroborate testimonies of witnesses and establish facts of the case,” it added.
The Makati hotel has earlier apologized for “failing to stop” the woman from leaving before the end of her required quarantine period.
“This was the only incident of its kind in the nearly two years that we have served as a quarantine hotel, and we will make sure that it is the last,” the hotel management said in a previous statement.
CIDG director Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, during a case conference last Jan. 3, meanwhile advised investigators to remain vigilant amid the pandemic.
“Let this be a lesson for each and every one of our fellow Filipinos. The pandemic is still at bay and we still need to be [cautious] in our actions,” he said.
“This is proof that the procedures and policies set by the IATF, especially on quarantine and isolation [are] vital for securing the welfare and wellness of the people. And everyone must adhere to the established protocols,” it added.
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