MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday summoned Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto for possible violation of Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said the purpose of the “invitation letter” sent to Sotto is to enable him to explain his side on the allegation that he disobeyed the national government policy in imposing the community quarantine in light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
Sotto was required by NBI to submit his explanation on April 7 at 10 in the morning. It was the NBI’s Anti-Graft Division that summoned the Pasig City Mayor.
Sotto allegedly issues a policy that is in violation of Bayanihan Law’s Section 6 (a) for disobeying national government policies or directives in imposing quarantines.
If found guilty, he may be meted with a two months imprisonment or a fine of not less than ₱10,000.00 but not more than ₱1-million or both at the discretion of the court.
When asked why the NBI focused on local government officials alone instead of helping the police on quarantine violators, Lavin said: “the President order was to investigate the local government officials who are implementing the enhanced community quarantine.”
The young mayor initially allowed tricycle to operate despite the suspension of public transport to ease travel woes of those exempt from the lockdown such as medical frontliners.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered local government units to “stand down” and let the national government call the shots after reports supposedly reached his office that some local officials “go beyond” the quarantine rules, with a warning that those who would “overdo things” will face administrative or even criminal charges.
The warning came after Sotto allowed the limited operation of tricycles in his city to ferry health workers and patients with immediate medical needs to hospitals amid the Luzon lockdown.