QC Station 3 chief sacked over dispatch of virus-afflicted policemen during Sona

File photo shows a huge gathering of anti-administration protesters amid Covid threat during President Duterte’s sixth and final State of the Nation Address last Monday.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) at Camp Crame relieved on Thursday the chief of police of the Quezon City Police Station 3 of her post over the deployment of 52 policemen during the State of the Nation Address of President Duterte early this week after tests later showed that they were positive of the Covid-19 virus.

The relief of Lt. Col. Christine Tabdi, commander of Police Station 3, was ordered by PNP chief General Guillermo Eleazar over what he said was a breach of protocol arising from the deployment of the policemen for Sona security duties and other police functions.

“In view of the apparent breach of protocol when most of these PNP personnel were deployed for SONA duties even if they were still waiting for their RT-PCR results, I have already ordered the administrative relief of the Station Commander, Police Station 3 of the QCPD [Quezon City Police District], for command responsibility,” Eleazar said.

“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 infection from the Delta variant,” he added.

Both the Quezon City Police and City Hall earlier announced that 82 members of the Station 3 have been tested positive of the virus, 52 of whom, Quezon City Police director Brig. Gen. Antonio Yarra said, were deployed during Duterte’s address before the joint Congressional address of the President on Monday.

At the same time, Yarra said the vaccination of all Station 3 personnel and the disinfection of its premises have been conducted, while 100 fully vaccinated members of the District Mobile Force Battalion would undergo swab test before they would be deployed to the station as augmentation force since the 82 personnel have been confined in quarantine facilities in the city.

Eleazar said the PNP is poised to conduct more testing for QC policemen in coordination with the local government based on the results of aggressive and continuous contact tracing that the PNP started on Wednesday.

At the same time, the PNP chief urged the public to stop from issuing “unnecessary and insensitive” comments out of the policemen’s case, reminding that the policemen performed their official duties and functions.

Meanwhile, Eleazar assured that the PNP is ready to enforce a “hard lockdown” should the IATF decides to impose the measure to curb the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Secretary Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force against Covid-19, earlier said the national government is open to imposing a hard lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant. The business sector has reportedly agreed to the proposed course of action.

The independent OCTA Research group suggested a “circuit-breaker” lockdown in Metro Manila after the region recorded an average of almost 1,000 cases daily amid the threat of the more infectious Delta variant.

‘Super spreader’

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, meanwhile, said there was a breach of protocol when policemen were deployed during SONA even if they were still waiting for their RT-PCR results.

Vergeire appealed to the people present during the SONA protest to coordinate with the local government units if they had an encounter with these policemen.

“So we can appropriately contact trace those individuals,” she added.

The 51 policemen were part of the 82 members of the Quezon City Police Station 3 located in Talipapa, Novaliches.

They were reported to be asymptomatic. They were among the 161 members of the station who underwent RT-PCR tests.

With Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco

Image courtesy of Nonoy Lacza
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