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Pangasinan mayor under fire for celebrating birthday amid quarantine

Mayor Timoteo Villar III of Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan has been under fire for celebrating his birthday and allegedly violating community quarantine protocols.

According to Tina Panganiban-Perez' report for "24 Oras," video footage from the birthday celebration was uploaded on Facebook by Villar's son Dickerson, a councilor.

He later deleted the video, but it resurfaced online and angered netizens. The mayor denied any wrongdoing and said that they followed social distancing.

"Hindi naman ako naghanda, wala namang selebrasyon," Villar said. "Medyo kinontrol na nga ng mga kasama namin sa bahay 'yung pagpasok nung iba."

The mayor said he was woken up in the wee hours of the morning as guests arrived at his house.

In the footage, however, both Villar and his son joked about violating quarantine protocols. 

"Tawagin n'yo si hepe, ipakulong natin itong mga 'to," the mayor said.

Dickerson quipped, "Tulog tayong lahat sa kulungan! Hahahaha! Dami nating nilabag, curfew, social distancing!" 

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will issue a show cause order against Villar, according to undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.

Meanwhile, Pangasinan Police Provincial Office director Police Colonel Redrico Maranan said they have started their investigation.

The Sto. Tomas chief of police was relieved and they are working on identifying the police officers and civilians who appeared in the video. —with a report from Julia Mari Ornedo/MGP, GMA News