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Roque says he won't file charges vs 'BFF' Cebu gov over testing protocols

By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

There are no filing of charges against “BFF” Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia for having own COVID-19 testing protocols for returning overseas Filipinos, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday.

“Tungkol po kay Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, wala pong katotohanan ang mga lumalabas na report na may plano ako kasama di umano si Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra na magsampa po ng kaso laban kay Governor Gwen Garcia," he said.

Roque added: "[U]nang una, hindi po yan kasama sa katungkulan ko bilang isang spox. Laway lang po ako bilang spox."

The spokesman added he finds it hard to sue Garcia whom he is considering as a BFF or best friend forever. 

“Pangalawa po, miski ako po ay bigyan ng ganyang kapangyarihan, alam naman po ng marami na mag-BFF kami ni Governor Gwen at hindi ko po magagawa yun. Siguro po ibang tao ang gagawa nun kung kinakailangan,” he added.

Roque’s statement came after some reports that he and Guevarra will file cases against Garcia for supposed defiance with the Inter-Agency Task Force’s testing protocols.

Under Garcia’s order, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) arriving at Mactan International Airport should have a COVID-19 swab confirmatory test upon arrival and should stay in a hotel while waiting for results.

If tested negative, non-Cebuano ROFs and OFWs are allowed to leave but subject to minimum protocols set by different local governments. Meanwhile, Cebuano ROFs and OFWs that have shown negative results are allowed to go home where they will be swabbed on the seventh day.

Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte and Governor Garcia will conduct a meeting to tackle the policies among returning individuals.

The Palace official further said that he believes the protocols in the province are an “innovation” to avoid overwhelming isolation capacities.

As of Monday, May 31, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 1,230,301 total COVID-19 infections including 54,290 active cases, 1,155,045 recoveries, and 20,966 mortalities.