Young Army officer who died of respiratory disease tests negative for coronavirus

JC Gotinga
Young Army officer who died of respiratory disease tests negative for coronavirus
2nd Lieutenant Vince Magbanua died on April 8 after complaining of difficulty in breathing

MANILA, Philippines – The young Philippine Army officer who died of a respiratory disease last week has tested negative for the novel coronavirus, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said late Tuesday, April 14.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) ran a COVID-19 test on samples from 2nd Lieutenant Vince Magbanua, who died on Wednesday, April 8. The results were negative for the disease, AFP Spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.

Magbanua was a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Alab-Tala” Class of 2018. He was a native of Davao City assigned in Bulacan as the weapons platoon leader of the 48th Infantry Battalion under the Army’s 7th Infantry Division.

The young officer was first rushed to the Norzagaray Municipal Hospital on Tuesday, April 7, when he experienced difficulty breathing. He was then diagnosed with acute bronchitis, and was sent back to barracks with medication. He was told to self-isolate.

The next day, Wednesday, Magbanua struggled to breathe and was again rushed to the same hospital. He was declared dead on arrival.

Magbanua’s case prompted his battalion commanders to check whether he might have contracted the coronavirus, and to take precautions at camp.

Samples from Magbanua were sent to the RITM for testing on Thursday, April 9.

The AFP lamented the young officer’s fate, and condoled with his family and friends.

“He is looked up to by his superiors, peers and subordinates for his dedication, commitment, and idealism,” Arevalo said of Magbanua. –

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.