Agencies ready to file charges vs quarantine violator who partied in Makati

Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 31 2021 09:59 PM

MANILA - The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) on Friday said it is prepared to file a complaint against the returning overseas Filipino who partied in Poblacion, Makati, before her quarantine period ended.

"Kami ang complainant, BOQ-DOH po, para maging sample na hindi po dapat i-violate ang quarnatine laws dahil po malaki ang epekto nito sa community," said BOQ Director Dr. Roberto Salvador.

The Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) is also ready to file raps against her.

"Based on the instructions of DILG Año and Cabinet Secretary Nograles, I have instructed on [December 30, 2021], DIDM, CIDG, NCRPO, HS to investigate the case and file appropriate criminal charges to anyone who will be found violating," PNP Chief Dionardo Carlos said in a text message sent to media.

In interviews of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Interior and Local Government with ABS-CBN News, a Gwyneth Chua was identified to have arrived in the Philippines from the United States on December 22.

She then checked-in at Berjaya Hotel in Makati for her 5-day mandatory quarantine.

She was reported seen in a party in Poblacion, Makati the next day.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said enough evidence have been gathered to prove she was out of the quarantine facility a day after her arrival.

"Yung mga nakasama ng taong yun, they have signed affidavits na kasama nila yung taong yun, there are pictures, there are tiktoks pa nga, there are reels, and may mga CCTV, so it was proven na she was out in the restaurant," Puyat said in an interview with TeleRadyo.

She underwent swab testing on December 26 and was declared COVID-19 positive on December 27.

She was removed from Berjaya Hotel on December 29 and moved to another isolation facility.

On the same day, the DOT-NCR issued a show-case order to Berjaya to explain the reported incident.

Agencies ready to file charges vs quarantine violator who partied in Makati
The DOt-NCR issued a show-cause order to Berjaya Hotel on December 29, 2021

In an initial statement, Berjaya declared that the female in question was quarantined in their hotel, and protocols were followed.

Agencies ready to file charges vs quarantine violator who partied in Makati
Berkaya Makati Hotel's initial statement issued on December 29, 2021

"May pananagutan ang Berjaya hotel, imposible (na wala) dahil nakita sa CCTV na nasa labas. Ang tanong na lang, pinayagan ba syang lumabas, may binayaran ba, or tumakas si Miss Chua on her own?" Año contested.

Puyat disclosed that the female had already admitted to her violations.

"Umamin na naman sya eh that she cut quarantine. In fact, they were asking her, o you just arrived bakit kasama namin ikaw? And I think she said, eh marami raw kasi syang connections," Puyat said.

"Yun ang masakit dito, when it comes to health, wala ito sa koneksyon, you have to follow," she added.

Contact-tracing is still on-going to identify those exposed to the violator.

"According to the report, there are about at least 5 who already tested positive but we expect there will be more because while Ms. Chua had about 15 of her friends, there were still other attendees in the dinner," Año said.

"The problem, those who were infected unknowingly might have gone to other areas and probably attended some parties," Año added.

Kampai Restaurant, one of the restaurants identified by Año to have been visited by the violator, has issued a statement confirming the presence of the returning overseas Filipino in their establishment on December 23, 10 pm up to Dec 24 1 am.

Kampai has been seen 'closed for disinfection' on Thursday and Friday. They have also announced on their Facebook page that they are taking measures after being "in close contact with a someone who is COVID-19 positive."

Meanwhile, the DOT is looking into reports of "absentee-quarantine" packages that are being offered in quarantine facility hotels.

"May mga kaso na naririnig kami, na binabayaran daw ang hotel tapos kunwari naka quarantine tapos babalik na lang on the 5th day tapos magpapa-swab," Puyat said.

She said that the DOT, DILG, PNP, and CIDG are working to investigate hotels one by one.

"Kahit na sunud-sunod ang paalala, nagsisinungaling naman, so kailangan caught in the act," she stressed.

Puyat reminded the public that one person's violation of health protocols may have far-reaching effects in a pandemic.