Taguig mayor says he ordered police to check condo for possible quarantine violation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21) — Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano confirmed Tuesday that it was he who ordered policemen to check the premises of a high-end condominium for allegedly violating quarantine protocols.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' Balitaan, Cayetano said authorities have been going around the city's residential condominiums since March to ensure that quarantine guidelines are being followed.

"Yes [I ordered the authorities], ang katotohanan for the last two weeks, ang lungsod ng Taguig ay talagang parte ng sistema namin na chinecheck namin lahat ng condominiums. It isn't something new," Cayetano said.

[Translation: Yes, I ordered the authorities. As a matter of fact, for the past two weeks, that has been our system in Taguig where we check all condominiums. It isn't something new.]

"The first time na umikot kami sa mga condominium ay March 28 (The first time we checked condominiums was on March 28)," he added.

On Sunday, some tenants of the Pacific Plaza Towers (PPT) at Bonifacio Global City slammed the police team for allegedly trespassing and harassing some foreign tenants in the condominium premises.

Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield chief Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar quickly defended his men, noting that they received reports that the PPT allowed the gathering of people at its common pool, a violation of physical distancing under the government's quarantine guidelines.

Cayetano, on the other hand, said that they are already investigating the matter, checking CCTV footage, and are coordinating with both parties. He noted that they will file charges if policemen were proven to have harassed the involved residents.

"We are investigating whether they barged in. We will find out, we will file charges if they did. If they waved a gun, we will file charges," he added.

The Taguig mayor also emphasized that the public should not use the issue to justify violators of the protocol.

"Ngayon, nama-muddle at jina-justify ng mga matitigas ang ulo yung action ng police para suwayin yung enhanced community quarantine," he said.

[Translation: The issue is being muddled, so violators are justifying the actions of the police to go against the enhanced community quarantine.]

"At the end of the day, we want to keep people safe. Ang virus po hindi naiintindihan yung legalidad ng public at private space. Hindi nito naiintindihan kung ikaw ay foreigner or Filipino (The virus does not understand the legality of a public and private space. It does not understand whether you are a foreigner or Filipino)," Cayetano said.

President Rodrigo Duterte previously warned quarantine violators that he may impose a "martial law-type" of discipline if they continue going against government orders.

Eleazar previously noted that there is no guarantee that quarantine violators can immediately post bail once they're sent to jails.

It has been over a month since the Luzon-wide quarantine was declared to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The national government has yet to decide whether the enhanced community quarantine will go beyond April 30.

Philippines has 6,459 COVID-19 cases to date, with 428 deaths and 613 recoveries.