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Tolentino apologizes for COVID-19 test, says he developed symptoms

Senator Francis Tolentino apologized on Sunday for having himself tested for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but maintained that he had developed symptoms.

In an earlier Facebook post that has since been deleted, Tolentino announced that he tested negative for COVID-19.

“If I came out positive, [I] will also post so the people who came near me would know the result whether positive or negative. My apologies to those offended,” he said in a statement.

The hashtag #NoToVIPTesting trended on Twitter on Sunday night as netizens protested against politicians who were tested for COVID-19 despite the limited number of test kits in the country, decrying the politicians' disregard for the Department of Health’s (DOH) triage algorithm for the disease.

“I apologize if I undertook the same as I was likewise exposed to the persons my colleagues got in contact with during our hearings,” Tolentino said. “My colds and dry cough persisted during my self-quarantine, thus I took a test, after my [self-prescribed] cough medication appeared insufficient after four days.”

He also clarified that the test he took was not administered by the DOH.

A number of senators underwent a self-quarantine earlier this month upon learning that a resource person who attended a Senate hearing had tested positive for COVID-19.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri announced last week that his results also came back positive. 

The DOH’s online COVID-19 tracker shows that they have so far conducted 1,399 tests.

The department earlier said that various laboratories across the country are capable of conducting between 950 and 1,000 tests per day. 

COVID-19 has so far claimed 25 lives and infected a total of 380 people in the Philippines. — Julia Mari Ornedo/BM, GMA News