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Locsin pantry incident ordered probed



Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Debold Sinas to investigate the incident involving the community pantry of actress-activist Angel Locsin where a male senior resident lining up for food collapsed and eventually died on the way to a Quezon City hospital.

In a radio interview, Año said he will just await the result of the probe being conducted by the PNP on the matter.

“I cannot say if she (Locsin) has liability but I already gave instruction to General Debold Sinas, to conduct an investigation to determine what really happened,” Año added.

The victim, Rolando de la Cruz, 67, widower and resident of Barangay Holy Spirit was declared dead on arrival by doctors at the East Avenue Memorial Hospital following the incident last Friday.

“We will determine during the investigation if the organizer has accountability, including the barangay but at present we are not blaming anybody as the intention of the community pantry is to help but it is just unfortunate that a senior died,” he added.

At the same time, Año called on the public to refrain from announcing on social media if they have plans to put up their own community pantry.

“There was an announcement made on Facebook and the tendency is for those who read the post is to go to the community pantry and this explains why at least 3,000 individuals showed up despite the goods were only intended for 300 people,” he noted.

According to Año, organizers should also ensure coordination with local government units or the barangay to make sure that minimum health protocols are being observed in the community pantries.

“The community pantry should be intended for residents in the barangay since the goods are limited to a number of individuals,” he said.

Locsin already apologized for the incident, saying she has the best intentions and that she coordinated properly with the authorities to ensure order and proper social distancing during the event.


No coordination

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, however, said Locsin did not coordinate with her office.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra refused to comment on the possible culpabilities of Locsin saying a case might be filed before the justice department with regard to the incident.

“No comment… I may prejudge the case if a complaint is filed by any interested party,” Guevarra said when asked if Locsin’s apology and promise to help the family of the 67-year-old victim absolves her of possible culpabilities for violation of health protocols.

People were seen ignoring social distancing while gathered at a commercial building on Don Matias Street when the pantry was set up.

The justice chief hinted that a complaint should be filed first before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) could conduct an investigation.

“No, the NBI may investigate on its own if the case is serious enough, like syndicated estafa, drug trading, bank fraud, and crimes of similar magnitude,” replied Guevarra.