Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte (left) and Senator Koko Pimentel (right). (File photo)

MANILA – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Thursday said it is looking to summon various government officials over incidents in relation to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. 

In a message to reporters, NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte may be summoned to explain over the rally that took place along Edsa in Barangay Pag-Asa which violates the prohibition on mass gatherings under the ECQ.

“I am awaiting from the NBI-AGD (Anti-Graft Division) details as to who are involved and what the possible charges could be, will they be used as witnesses or subjects,” he said.

The NBI also summoned village chairman Rodolfo Palma over the incident where around 21 people held a lightning rally to demand relief aid.

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) dispersed the rallyists and arrested them.

Those involved may be charged with the violation of the Republic Act 11469, the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, for alleged violations of the government’s quarantine rules.

Meanwhile, the NBI confirmed that Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III will be summoned for allegedly violating quarantine protocols once his self-quarantine ends.

Last week, Pimentel announced that he tested positive for Covid-19.

Lavin noted that the NBI’s Anti-Graft Division (AGD) has already prepared an invitation letter for Pimentel.

The bureau earlier summoned Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto for alleged violation of the national government’s quarantine rules when he allowed tricycles to continue to ply their routes.

Lavin said NBI investigators found that Sotto continues to allow tricycle operations in Pasig City in violation of the government directive which suspended public transportation under the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

“Our investigation has evidence that tricycle operations still continue,” Lavin said.

The AGD has already sent on Wednesday a letter to Sotto and asked him to appear and explain his alleged violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act. 

Meanwhile, the NBI continues to crack down on purveyors of fake news which induce panic and chaos amid the public health emergency.

NBI Cybercrime Division (CCD) chief Victor Lorenzo said: “there is a general instruction to the NBI to suppress fake news that could actually lead to public disorder.”

“People during these times are sensitive and would believe what they want to believe,” Lorenzo said. (PNA)