What is NBI’s beef with Vico Sotto?

Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto was summoned by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) earlier today, Apr. 1, for possible violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (RA 11469). This comes after he allowed the limited operation of tricycles in Pasig to transport health workers and patients with immediate medical needs during the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

NBI deputy director Ferdinand Lavin said they sent Sotto an invitation letter asking him to explain his side given the allegations that he violated  government policy on the strict community quarantine. Sotto is expected to submit his written explanation on Apr. 7, 10 a.m.

The investigation also came after Pres. Rodrigo Duterte said in his first weekly report to Congress on Monday (Mar. 30) that the NBI will be “investigating and filing charges against local government officials who willfully disregard, contravene or violate national guidelines on community quarantine set by the IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.”

Sotto responded to the news via Twitter, saying that his team “complied with all directives.” This included implementing social distancing since the tricycles can only ferry one person at a time to hospitals. (Plus, it would help tricycle drivers earn.) However, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles insisted in a previous press briefing that the limited space in a tricycle might cause further COVID-19 transmission. Nograles also suggested using jeepneys instead.

Sotto also pointed out that the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act was signed into law on Mar. 24, meaning he technically didn’t violate the law since he complied with the tricycle ban beforehand. However, it’s also possible that the NBI is summoning Sotto after rolling out e-tricycles for patients via the Libreng Hatid project.

If that’s the case, how come the government didn’t bat an eye when Manila Mayor Isko Moreno allowed e-tricycles to service health workers? Make it make sense.


Photo courtesy of Vico Sotto’s Instagram account

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