NBI says probing Quezon City quarantine protest

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 02 2020 09:08 AM | Updated as of Apr 02 2020 09:36 AM

Investigators may summon Mayor Belmonte, barangay officer

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MANILA - The National Bureau of Investigation is looking into the arrest and police dispersal of several Quezon City residents who demanded food and financial aid from the government, halfway into the monthlong lockdown of Luzon, an official said Thursday.

The inquiry will cover the alleged shortage of relief aid in Sitio San Roque and reports that a group allegedly incited the residents to violate the lockdown's ban on mass gatherings, said NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin.

"I do not have the details yet. I was informed by the anti-graft [division] that we are also looking into that," he told ANC.

Asked who the NBI will invite to explain over the protest, Lavin said: "The barangay captain, possibly the mayor -- depends on how the situation will develop."

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier said a group spread false information to residents about the supposed distribution of food and other assistance.

The Quezon City government earlier said there was "continuous distribution of food packs throughout the city, both from the local government and the barangays to ensure that affected families are looked after during this crisis period."

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte "has instructed city personnel to review the list to make sure nobody has been inadvertently left out," the local government said in a statement.