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5 San Juan cops relieved from posts for 'disregarding' Baguio health protocols

Five policemen from San Juan City were relieved from their posts for allegedly disregarding the standard health and safety protocols in Baguio City amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement on Monday, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Police Major General Debold Sinas said he ordered the transfer of the five to the NCRPO's Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit pending investigation into the incident.

The five policemen were part of the convoy of San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora.

"I will not condone any wrongdoing of our police officers in the implementation of the community quarantine protocols, if held responsible," Sinas said.

"We, as law enforcers, are bound to respect the existing rules and regulations anywhere in the Philippines. The safety of the people remains as our top priority in this trying times."

Sinas, who himself is facing charges for alleged breach in health protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said the Regional Internal Affairs Service and the RIAS in Police Regional Office — Cordillera have already started the investigation into the matter.

The involved cops were already ordered to submit their explanation about the incident, he said.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier bared that the entourage of Zamora violated health security protocols after "disregarding" a checkpoint in the area. He said Zamora's convoy violated the regulatory mechanism of quarantine check and triage examination at the Naguilian facility.

Zamora's camp also allegedly failed to present a medical health clearance when asked at the Baguio Country Club.

According to Magalong, Zamora has already apologized over the matter. He said Zamora informed him that he was asleep when the incident happened.

Zamora also posted online his apology to Magalong and the citizens of Baguio.  

Sinas became controversial last month after holding a mañanita during his birthday where the social distancing guideline was supposedly violated.

In a separate press briefing, PNP chief Police General Archie Francisco Gamboa said he already contacted Magalong and apologized over the actions of policemen that were in contrast to the quarantine guidelines. 

He also called on all police officers to always abide by local quarantine protocols. 

"All the members of the Philippine National Police should follow, not only encourage, local quarantine protocols," Gamboa said. —KBK/KG, GMA News