MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The Filipino woman who broke the mandatory quarantine protocol during the holidays, her parents and six other people including staff of the Berjaya Hotel were charged Tuesday for violating a public health law, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.
The complaint was filed by the PNP's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group at the Makati City Prosecutor's Office. It cited sections of Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, as well as of its Implementing Rules and Regulations as those that the nine respondents have violated.
Authorities believe that Chua infected about 15 people after skipping isolation during the holidays.
In a statement, the PNP's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said that Chua was transported to the quarantine facility, the Berjaya Hotel in Makati, and was checked-in there last Dec. 22 at 11:23 p.m.
At 11:40 p.m. of the same day, Chua was fetched from the same hotel by her father in a SUV, the CIDG said.
Investigators confirmed the presence of Chua at a Makati restaurant on the night of Dec. 23, through CCTV footage and witness accounts.
The CIDG said that on Dec. 25, at 9 p.m., Chua returned to the hotel assisted by her mother.
Being a returning Filipino overseas, Chua is "obliged to follow the health protocol being imposed by IATF & DOH," the police unit said.
Chua's "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," it added.
The CIDG said it did not find sufficient evidence that will merit charges against Chua's companions on the night of Dec. 23 who were allegedly infected also with the virus.
"However, CIDG recommends and encourages the said individuals to file a complaint before CIDG for further referral to the prosecutors office," their statement read.
The Palace on Monday said the government will implement penalties against quarantine violators to the "fullest extent of the law," following Chua's protocol breach to attend a party.
Aside from Chua, authorities are also investigating the case of another Filipino who allegedly skipped mandatory quarantine for travelers.
The PNP said it will conduct random inspections of businesses and quarantine hotels in areas under Alert Level 3.
“We believe that police visibility will serve the purpose to monitor how the quarantine hotels are accommodating their guests who are required to isolate while waiting for the completion of the required number of quarantine days,” said PNP chief Dionardo Carlos, who himself has tested positive for COVID-19.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government on Monday said the tourism department and quarantine bureau lack manpower to guard some 150 accredited hotels, including 6 to 8 facilities located in Metro Manila.