Pabida bill' on COVID-19 slammed

AS THE entire country scrambles to avert the fatal and destructive effects of the COVID-19, Rep. Alfred delos Santos of ‘Ang Probinsiyano’ partylist, has been scored anew for filing a bill penalizing anyone who would “deliberately withhold” important information resulting to the infection of a health worker or other patients in a medical facility.

Delos Santos, an assistant majority floor leader and first nominee of his party-list,  explained that his measure seeks mandatory full disclosure of travel history for persons under investigations (PUIs) with COVID-19 which he believed would help stop the transmission of the virus particularly to medical frontliners.

But according to former lawmaker from the Makabayan bloc and former undersecretary, Teddy Ridon, while the proposal may be “well-meaning,” delos Santos filed his bill while Congress is in recess and the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), so that the measure could not even be assigned a House Bill number.

According to Ridon, this period when the government is trying to avert an impending national health crisis, “is not the right time for grandstanding and ‘pabida bills.’”

“Today is not the time for pabida bills like this, when there is an actual health crisis before all of us, and Congress is not in session to deliberate the matter, even to put a number on the bill,” said Ridon.

Instead, Ridon called on Delos Santos’ party-list group to come up and make good on its promise to make public with its report and recommend appropriate sanctions for his unparliamentary behaviour related to an incident in Bicol last year.

To recall, delos Santos gained notoriety after punching for no apparent reason a restaurant crew of Biggs Diner in Legazpi City in July 2019.

“I believe he should come clean first to avoid any public suspicions that he was merely grandstanding with his initiatives” the public interest lawyer stressed.

Earlier, Emily Sandoval of People for Empowerment and Truth (PET) also called on the Ang Probinsyano partylist leadership to make public the results of its probe relative to the Bigg’s Diner punching incident in the name of justice.

“Sana naman ay ilabas na sa lalong madaling panahon ng Ang Probinsyano party list ang resulta ng kanilang imbestigasyon kaugnay ng insidente sa ngalan ng hustisya at pagkakapantay-pantay (sa batas)” she said