FB tip leads to arrest of 16 quarantine violators

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    OPERATIVES have arrested 16 persons who were reported to the police through the official Facebook page of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield for violating community quarantine regulations such as the wearing of face masks in public places and of observing physical distancing.

    Task Force chief Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said adolescents from Taguig City were apprehended around 10:30 p.m. of Saturday along Aguirre Street in barangay Lower Bicutan while engaged in a drinking session.

    Prior to the suspects’ arrest, Eleazar said a netizen reported the violation of quarantine protocols to the local police and to the task force’s Facebook page, even sending a photo of the occasion.

    Taguig City policemen promptly responded to the scene and arrested the suspects.

    The suspects were Ralph Cruz, 19; Nichole Cruz, 21; Michael Quijou, 21; Christian Pregil, 21; Paul Belarmino, 21; Ian Augala, 21; Enen Sison, 21; Jojo Angala, 39; Jackie Bosque, 37; Franz Pascua, 19; Monica Reyes, 19; Kevin John de Guzman, 23; Ivan Pacete, 21; Gabriel Inserto, 21; Mark Anthony Ortigas, 21; and a 17-year-old female.

    “When police personnel went there, those who attended the birthday celebration were not wearing face masks and not observing social distancing,” said Eleazar.

    Eleazar has ordered police commanders to use social media platforms in the campaign against community quarantine violators. On Friday last week, the task force launched its Facebook page to accommodate complaints.

    Eleazar said the 16 violators were taken to the barangay’s basketball court and were released six hours later but will be charged in court for their infraction.

    “We hope that this successful operation would encourage more of our kababayan to report to us all the quarantine violations in their community. We assure them of our quick response and the protection of their identity,” said Eleazar.

    Meanwhile, Eleazar said the Manila Police District has ordered an investigation into the procession of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila on Monday, in violation of the “no mass gathering” prohibition imposed by the government.

    Quiapo Church parochial vicar Fr. Douglas Badong has said the Black Nazarene was brought around Quiapo to call for an end to the coronavirus disease pandemic. Hundreds attended the procession.

    Eleazar said an initial check of the incident showed that church officials informed the Manila Police District (MPD) about its plan to parade the statue in nearby neighborhoods.

    The MPD supposedly discouraged the church officials from pursuing the plan.

    “Actually, they (MPD) were informed but when it (procession) moved, they just assisted.

    We will conduct an investigation,” Eleazar said, adding that the probe will be conducted by the MPD-Station 3.