Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Malacanang will leave the alleged quarantine violation of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the matter.
In a virtual presser, Nograles said the Palace leaves it to NBI to justify its decision to require Sotto to appear at their office on April 7 to respond to the allegations.
Nograles said he had no “first-hand information” about the investigation which the NBI later claimed has been “politicized” and “sensationalized.”
However, Nograles said he recognized all efforts made by local officials to ensure that Bayanihan measures and the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) are observed at all times.
“Lahat naman ng mga LGUs na tumutulong sa ating mga kababayan ay pinapasalamatan po namin (We are thankful for all LGUs who help our citizens),” he said.
He also expressed confidence that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) continues to do its part in identifying local officials who have abused their powers.
“The DILG has been working really hard to call the attention of LGU officials who are remiss or have overstepped their boundaries,” he said.
Last month, Sotto ordered the limited use of tricycles in the city to help ferry health workers and patients with urgent needs to hospitals and health facilities.
The use of mass public transport has been banned under the guidelines of enhanced community quarantine.
The Pasig City government now uses its own vehicles to transport health workers and patients.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the differing views between the department and Sotto have been resolved.
“The mayor of Pasig was already cooperative. No issue in so far as the DILG is concerned now,” Malaya said in a television interview.
He also backed Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra’s remark, saying Sotto cannot be prosecuted for violating the Bayanihan Act because the alleged offenses were committed prior to its effectivity into law.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act (Republic Act 11469) on March 24, 2020. (PNA)