DILG files complaint vs Olongapo mayor for breaking lockdown rules

Rambo Talabong
DILG files complaint vs Olongapo mayor for breaking lockdown rules
Olongapo Mayor Rolen Paulino Jr allegedly organized a mass gathering to distribute social amelioration cards and allowed motorcycle backriding in his city

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has filed a complaint against Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino Jr for allegedly violating lockdown rules.

The DILG accused Paulino of gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct, violation of Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan Act, violation of Republic Act No. 11332 or Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health. Events of Public Health Concern Act, and open disobedience based on the following acts:

  • “Organizing a mass gathering” when he distributed social amelioration cards
  • Allowing motorcycle backriding through Executive Order 54-A dated May 25

“We are dismayed because as the local chief executive of Olongapo, he should be the first to follow the guidelines issued by the national government,” the DILG said on Wednesday, June 24.

The IATF has banned mass gatherings and backriding to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

It is unclear when the mass gathering was organized, but the bans had been in place since mid-March in Olongapo City, when the whole of Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine. The city has been under general community quarantine since June 16. (READ: ECQ, MECQ, GCQ, MGCQ: Who can go where?

The DILG said that it gave the mayor a chance to explain the alleged infractions prior to the department’s decision to file the complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman. 

The DILG had earlier filed show cause orders against several local officials for alleged violation of quarantine rules.

Some groups had slammed the Duterte government’s “double standard” when it comes to violations of other government officials, as in the case of Senator Koko Pimentel who went around Makati City and even accompanied his wife to the hospital despite having flu symptoms, and later testing positive for COVID-19.

During the Lzon-wide lockdown, Mocha Uson, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Deputy Administator, held a gathering of over 300 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were in quarantine in Batangas, while Metro Manila police chief Major General Debold Sinas allowed a birthday celebration for him in Camp Crame attended by dozens of cops. None of them had been reprimanded. – 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.