Malacañang lamented the deployment of police officers for President Duterte’s sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 26, saying the incident will be investigated.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after it was reported that 51 of the 82 personnel of the Talipapa Police Station in Quezon City deployed for Duterte’s SONA turned out to be positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In his press briefing on Thursday, July 29, Roque said the police officers involved should be immediately isolated and their close contacts traced.
He added that there will be an investigation since it was standard operating procedure (SOP) for anybody to wait for COVID-19 test results before heading out.
The policemen were tested on July 23 but the results were only released on Wednesday, July 28, two days after they were tapped to secure the protest sites for President Duterte’s final SONA.
“Dapat hindi po siguro lumabas habang naghihintay ng resulta kasi tignan niyo nga ‘yan, biglang nagpositibo pala sila (They should not have been deployed until their results were out because look at what happened, they turned out to be positive),” Roque said.
“I’m sure there will be some investigation made. It’s SOP na ‘pag ikaw ay nagpatest, ‘wag munang lumabas hanggang walang resulta (that if you were tested, you should not go out until your results were released),” he added.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar said Lt. Col. Cristine Tabdi, the police commander of the Talipapa Police Station, was already sacked from her post for command responsibility.
He added that Tabdi’s relief was due to a breach of protocol when she allowed the deployment of her men who were then still waiting for the result of their COVID-19 test.
“This should serve as a reminder to all our commanders to exercise prudence and to strictly abide with our existing protocols amid the serious threat of COVID-19, especially with the rising number of infections from the Delta variant,” he said.