Fine, jail time, or both? Palace leaves 'Poblacion Girl's' fate to court

Published January 3, 2022, 10:04 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang is leaving the fate of Gwyneth Chua– the returning migrant who cut short her quarantine before testing positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)–to the judge who will handle her case, reiterating that the government will implement all applicable laws against those who played a part in the breach.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (Photo from Cabinet Secretariat Facebook page)

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles made the statement in an interview over ANC’s “Headstart” on Monday, Jan. 3, as authorities continued their investigation on the returning overseas Filipina.

Chua has supposedly admitted to using her connections to cut quarantine and go to a party in Poblacion in Makati in late December, giving birth to her moniker of “Poblacion Girl”.

In the interview, Nograles said Chua’s admission can be used as evidence against her and Berjaya Hotel in Makati City where she was supposed to spend her quarantine.

“There were already admissions, I think, by the lady herself and even by the hotel. Evidence gathering na ‘yan and then sasampahan na ‘yan ng kaso (That can be gathered as evidence and then the charges will be filed against them),” he said.

“We do know that we have a Notifiable Diseases Act. Depende sa (It depends on the) prosecutor if there are other violations also na pwedeng i-file (that can be filed) against the lady and the establishment,” added Nograles, who is a lawyer.

Under the Notifiable Diseases Act, those who violate the law shall be penalized with a fine of not less than P20,000 but not more than P50,000; imprisonment from one month to six months; or both fine and imprisonment.

Nograles said it’s up to the court judge if he or she will seek jail time for Chua or slap her with a fine. Or both.

“That’s up to the judge. I’m not saying this will be the only case filed because it really depends on the investigation of the police and the CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) and the prosecutor, ultimately, what the prosecutor will file in the report,” he said.

Despite this, Nograles assured the public that the government will implement all applicable laws to the fullest extent.

“We will execute them accordingly,” he said.

Last week, Malacañang said that it will prosecute anyone who was involved in the quarantine breach. It also reminded the public of their responsibilities during the pandemic and warned them to not even try to violate COVID-19 guidelines.