Whistleblowers concerned about safety if they report gov’t officials who violate quarantine protocols

Published May 14, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chito Chavez

Several prospective whistleblowers on Friday wanted to be assured of their safety when reporting government officials who violated enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols.

This sentiment was aired following the pronouncement of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque that the public should report to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) government officials breaking quarantine protocols.

Roque’s statement came at the heels of the May 8 birthday party celebration of National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas that was caught on video.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año later said that mass gatherings like birthday parties are “a big no-no.’’

Sinas explained that what transpired was a “mañanita,’’ a police and military practice where key officers serenade their commander at dawn.

Despite the explanation, Año said Sinas may be liable for the incident and ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct a probe.

Roque insisted that the public be vigilant in reporting quarantine violations committed by government personnel.

He noted that public servants should serve as role models, especially when the government has repeatedly reminded the public to obey quarantine regulations.

A Quezon City resident expressed fears for his safety in reporting social amelioration program (SAP)-related anomalies committed by barangay officials.

Rolando Esguerra, who lives in a rented room with his live-in partner in Barangay Pinyahan, admitted being aware of barangay officials favoring their relatives and supporters in the distribution of SAP cash aid over the needy and less fortunate.

He also asked what the procedures are in the event he decides to air his complaints against rogue barangay officials.

Esguerra, a tricycle driver plying the barangays in the Quirino area in the third district before the lockdown, admitted being enticed to file the complaint due to the P30,000 reward offered by the President to those who report corrupt barangay officials involved in SAP-related anomalies.

Año said the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will investigate and arrest the guilty parties.

He added that rogue barangay officials violating SAP guidelines will not be issued show-cause orders but instead will be probed and apprehended by the CIDG if found guilty.

Año clarified that only persons with complaints substantiated by valid evidence against barangay officials will be given the P30,000 cash reward.