Celebrity host and DJ KC Montero denounced his arrest and called it “backwards social distancing” after the local police took him, his wife and other customers of a bar in Makati City inside crammed police trucks on Sunday over alleged quarantine violations.
On Sunday evening, the local police nabbed Montero, his wife multimedia host Casey Miller and 119 others in a bar located on the 18th floor of a condominium in Salcedo Village in Barangay Bel-Air in Makati City.
Those arrested allegedly violated the Department of Health’s health restrictions on physical distancing and violated the general community quarantine rules against bar operations.
Makati City Police planned to charge them for violating Republic Act No 11332 or the “Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act of 2018.”
Montero, meanwhile, described the manner of how they were arrested as “backwards social distancing.”
“That’s like backwards social distancing. They arrest us for protecting us for social distancing, tapos force us to not social distance, and then put us–did you see the truck there? That’s bad,” he told reporters.
Actor KC Montero defends his side after he and his wife were among those arrested for alleged violation of mass gathering and proper distancing measures at a restobar in Makati City on Sunday. | via Miguel de Guzman
Posted by Philippine Star on Sunday, June 28, 2020
He also acknowledged that it might have been his fault for not researching first before going to the bar to have dinner.
“That place was open before so parang feeling ko, okay. Why were they open if they’re not allowed to open? Maybe that’s my fault, I didn’t do my research. So feeling ko, they’re allowed to be open. So I went,” Montero said.
Following reports of his arrest, Montero took to Twitter to express his regret over his decision to dine out.
He also mentioned that the arrest was an “opposite of social distancing protocols.”
Montero later on deleted the series of tweets but Interaksyon managed to take a screenshot of some of these. Showbiz blog Fashion Pulis also reposted the tweets before they were deleted.
“Arrest us for not social distancing (We were actually practicing it). We were there for 5 minutes for dinner,” Montro’s now-deleted tweet read.
Montero’s name also reached the top trending list of Twitter Philippines on Monday.
The host reacted to this, saying: “Well that’s neat, isn’t it?”
Well that’s neat, isn’t it? https://t.co/HJXSvKAPnX
— KC Montero (@KCMontero) June 29, 2020
Reports said the owner and a representative of the bar refused to issue a statement regarding the arrest of its customers. However, the management insisted that they did not commit any violation and that their restaurant had been operating at a limited capacity.
Bars, concert venues, beaches, parks and other recreational activities are still prohibited in areas covered by GCQ.
Personal care services such as salons and barber shops, however, are allowed to partially resume operations at limited capacity.
Image painted on the police force
The local authorities’ actions earned mixed cheers and jeers on social media as the Makati bar arrest came weeks after the manañita and despedida gatherings involving some police and Bureau of Fire Protection personnel.
While they praised them for not giving a celebrity a special treatment, some argued that the same should be given to military and police officers who supposedly committed glaring quarantine violations as well.
Last May, when the National Capital Region was still under the stricter enhanced community quarantine measure, NCRPO Chief Major General Debold Sinas celebrated his 55th birthday at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, where his subordinates supposedly arranged a mañanita or an early birthday morning serenade for him.
Based on photos posted and eventually deleted by the NCRPO’s Public Information Office on Facebook, Sinas and his subordinates appeared to have not complied with several ECQ guidelines, particularly the strict ban on any on-site mass gathering, to supposedly prevent novel coronavirus transmissions as well as wearing of face masks.
This gathering earned backlash and was reported by the major international news organizations such as Reuters, The New York Times, Gulf News and The Straits Times, among others.
Aside from the NCRPO’s mañanita, some personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection Region VI recently came under fire after they breached quarantine protocols when they stayed on the famed Boracay Island last June 12 to June 14 when it was not officially open for tourism.
They cited attendance to a “conference” during their entry but some of the held a “despedida party” or a farewell party despite the strict prohibitions against non-essential gatherings.
The local government unit of Malay also said the conference was already over when they visited the island.
The BFP visitors also included a personnel who later tested positive for COVID-19.
Interior and Local Secretary Eduardo Año later announced that BFP-Western Visayas director Senior Superintendent Roderick Aguto and 26 other BFP personnel involved in the quarantine protocol breach and unofficial trip were relieved from their posts.