Legazpi cops sue man who ‘pretended’ to be sick with novel coronavirus

Rambo Talabong
Legazpi cops sue man who ‘pretended’ to be sick with novel coronavirus
The man reportedly laid down and acted sick in front of a popular mall in Legazpi City

MANILA, Philippines – Cops in Legazpi City have filed a criminal case on Tuesday, February 4, against a man who reportedly pretended to contract the 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV and “laid down” in front of a mall as part of a prank.

In a phone interview with Rappler, Legazpi City acting police chief Lieutenant Colonel Aldwin Gamboa confirmed that they had filed a case on Tuesday afternoon accusing the man of violating Article 155 of the Revised Penal Code, which bans inappropriately causing alarm and scandal.

Gamboa said the man apparently laid down and acted sick in front of Yashano Mall in the city’s port district on Sunday afternoon, but ended up causing unnecessary panic.

There’s no arrest yet: Gamboa clarified that the man who pulled the apparent prank has not been arrested as they have not secured an arrest warrant.

If the case prospers, the man could be imprisoned from 1 to 30 days, or could be fined at most P200.

Why the panic? The first death outside China related to the virus happened in the Philippines, after a 44-year-old man who traveled to the Philippines from Wuhan, China died after developing severe pneumonia. (READ: Coronavirus: What we know about first death outside China) A second death has been reported in Hong Kong.

In China, the government has counted 425 deaths related to the virus as of Tuesday afternoon.

The World Health Organization declared the current 2019-nCoV situation in China a public health emergency of international concern on January 30. – Rappler.com


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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.