COVID-19

8 security aides assigned to Medialdea test positive for COVID-19

Pia Ranada
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea 'initially tested negative' for COVID-19, says the Presidential Security Group

Eight Presidential Security Group personnel assigned to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea tested positive for COVID-19, according to PSG Commander Colonel Jesus Durante.

In a statement, Durante said these aides are composed of two officers and 6 enlisted personnel who were on “outside duty and did not have any close contact” with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Medialdea, meanwhile, “initially tested negative,” said Durante. He did not give details on when the Malacañang official last took a reverse-transcription polymerace chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

Two months earlier, the PSG had confirmed one of its Davao City-based personnel had tested COVID-19 positive but eventually recovered. The security aide also did not have direct exposure to the President.

The new infections in Duterte’s security team comes as he prepares to deliver his 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) in person at the Batasang Pambansa, despite the health risks.

Precautions taken by PSG

Durante gave assurances that the PSG implements strict protocols over their personnel and their dependents, especially those aides assigned to Duterte himself.

PSG personnel assigned to Duterte “consistently” get tested, said Durante.

The President’s close-in security, or the PSG personnel who have direct contact with him regularly, stay in a building separate from the rest of the group and their loved ones. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.