Photo grabbed from twitter
Photo grabbed from twitter

NBI summons Vico Sotto, riles netizens

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday, April 1, summoned Pasig City Mayor Victor Regis “Vico” Sotto over alleged violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or Republic Act 11469, causing Twitter users to explode in anger.

Sotto, who has gained popularity because of his initiatives in local governance, was ordered to appear at the Office of the Cybercrime Division on April 7, 2020.

“They're asking for an "explanation on the alleged violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (e.g. continuous tricycle operation). We complied with all directives. Hindi po illegal magbigay ng alam kaya nila na March 24 naging batas ang Bayanihan Act?” he posted on Twitter Wednesday evening.

(Do they know that the Bayanihan Act was enacted into law on March 24?)

He noted that even before he received the summons, he was already being asked by the media for his comment.

On Thursday morning, Sotto appealed to his supporters via Twitter to refrain from politicizing the issue.

“Acc to NBI Deputy Dir. Lavin, the issue has been "politicized & sensationalized.” I agree. But with all due respect sir, pls stop and think why it reached this point: Side niyo ang nag-leak ng kopya ng sulat sa reporter. Nagpa-receive tao niyo sa opis ko, may kasama pang media,” he stated.

“Thank you all for your overwhelming support. Ngunit wag na po sanang gamitin ang isyu na 'to para sa politika. (Pati naman mga opisyales ng nasyonal sinasabing mali ang nbi.) Panahon po ngayon ng KRISIS. Mula brgy hanggang nasyonal, kailangan maganda ang pakikipag-ugnayan,” he added.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases earlier disapproved Sotto’s appeal to allow tricycles to continue operating in Pasig City despite the suspension of public transportation systems as part of the enhanced community quarantine guidelines.

The tricycles were allowed to transport essential personnel, healthcare workers and patients in Pasig City.

President Rodrigo Duterte followed this with an order to all local government units (LGUs) to stand down and abide by the directives of the task force.

Duterte’s authority over the LGUs was cemented by the Bayanihan Act, which Congress passed in special sessions on March 23 and which he signed into law on March 24.

The law declared a state of national emergency arising from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak and granted the President special powers to deal with the crisis, including how to deal with “wayward” local government officials.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, uncle of the mayor and principal author of the Bayanihan Act in the Senate, reminded the NBI that the law’s effectivity is not retroactive.

(Jove T. Moya/SunStar Philippines)

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