GAPAN CITY – At least 16 members of a local brass band were arrested for alleged violation of anti-coronavirus measures by performing during a funeral from Barangay San Nicolas to the public cemetery here at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
Police identified the suspects as band master Ariel Matias, 36, and band members July Rivera, 27; Eduardo Matias, 55; Christine Santiago, 24; Ismael Betchayda, 36; Robertson Sunga, 21; John Aries Bagaybagayan, 31; Richard Quijano,34; Angelio Sison, 23; Victor de Guzman, 48 — all of Barangay San Nicolas; Gervie Constantino, 20; Geremy Constantino, 18; Jon Jon Collado, 36; Joel Datos, 44 — all of Barangay Sto. Niño; Marck Capinlac, 27 and Anthony Capionlac, 28 — both of San Vicente, all of this city.
Also hauled to the city police station was their driver, Angel Domingo, 43, resident of Barangay San Nicolas.
Cpl. Christian Valdez, investigator, said the band performed for the interment of a resident of Barangay San Nicolas and marched to the public cemetery in Barangay Mangino without securing permit from the local government and violated social distancing protocols amid the implementation of modified enhanced community quarantine in Nueva Ecija.
Criminal complaints of violation of Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code (disobedience) in relation to Republic Act 11332 were being filed against the suspects before the provincial prosecutor’s office.
The ban on social distancing and mass gathering are among measures being imposed by the government, particularly the inter-agency task force in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Nueva Ecija has so far recorded 55 confirmed Covid-19 cases, from which 43 have recovered and three have died.