Watchdog urges Belmonte to sanction QC councilor

A transparency watchdog has exhorted Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte to impose sanctions against one of the city's councilors for supposedly neglecting the safety of their constituents amid the coronavirus pandemic by holding a mass gathering recently.

In his letter to the mayor, Bencyrus Ellorin, convenor of Pinoy Aksyon for Governance and Environment (PAGE), urged Belmonte to act on complaints against Councilor Karl Castelo for violating social distancing rules implemented by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

"We are in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and yet, Councilor Castelo seems focused on his personal politics and risked the lives of the people who attended his big assembly," Ellorin wrote to Belmonte.

Contacted by the Standard, the office of Castelo, who represents QC's District 5, did not comment. Questions left with his uncle, former QC councilor Winston Castelo, had yet to be answered at posting time.

Ellorin said that based on the photos sent to him by some QC residents, Castelo held a gathering last Dec. 22, 2020, in North Fairview, where participants were made to wear blue t-shirts with the councilor's name printed on it and where no social distancing was observed.

Based on the IATF resolution issued last Dec. 14, mass gatherings such as, but not limited to, movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment activities, community assemblies, and non-essential work gatherings shall be prohibited.

"The elections are in 2022 but Castelo seems to be campaigning early.  He should be ashamed of his actions," Ellorin said.

He added that Castelo is encouraging the spread of the virus by holding assemblies defying IATF rules, noting that the gathering was "dangerous and potentially a COVID-19 'superspreader' event." With Rio N. Araja

Topics: Quezon City , Joy Belmonte , coronavirus pandemic , Bencyrus Ellorin , Karl Castelo
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