'Poblacion girl' indicted for defying quarantine

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 05 2022 03:27 PM | Updated as of May 05 2022 03:28 PM

CIDG Director Police Maj. Gen. Albert Ferro holds up the charge sheet against Gwyneth Chua, her parents, and six other persons including members of Hotel Berjaya's staff, on Jan. 4, 2022. Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News/File
CIDG Director Police Maj. Gen. Albert Ferro holds up the charge sheet against Gwyneth Chua, her parents, and six other persons including members of Hotel Berjaya's staff, on Jan. 4, 2022. Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Makati City Prosecutor's Office has recommended criminal charges against a Filipina traveler who violated COVID-19 quarantine rules last December. 

In a statement on Thursday, the prosecutor's office said it found probable cause to charge Gwyneth Anne Chua of violating Republic Act 11332 or the "Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act".

A guard at the Berjaya Hotel where Chua was staying was also indicted for "assisting the escape of Gwyneth from the quarantine facility."

Complaints were also filed against other Berjaya Hotel employees, as well as Chua's parents and boyfriend, but these were dismissed for lack of probable cause and "insufficient evidence."

According to the prosecutor's office, the evidence against the other hotel employees failed to show that they knowingly allowed Chua to leave the hotel premises.

On Dec. 23, 2021, Chua was seen partying in Poblacion, Makati, just 2 days into her mandatory quarantine at the Berjaya Hotel after arriving from the US.

She later tested positive for COVID-19. Fifteen of her contacts were also confirmed infected. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that Chua admitted the violation.

The incident, which happened amid the threat of the then-new omicron variant, went viral. Chua earned the moniker "Poblacion girl."

Those found guilty of violating RA 11332 could be fined between P20,000 and P50,000, imprisoned for 1 to 6 months, or both.

— Report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

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