BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacon brushed aside negative comments in the social media and stood pat yesterday on his decision to forgive a Negrense couple, who admitted their mistakes of violating Covid-19 health protocols, as he chose compassion over enforcement of the law.
Lacson said they will no longer press charges against the couple, who came from the United Kingdom but declared themselves locally stranded individuals, instead of returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) at the height of the UK variant infection scare.
His decision was made despite the recommendation of the Provincial Legal Office to press charges against the couple for committing a serious crime against public health and violating protocol.
The couple, who tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival at the Bacolod-Silay Airport last month, sent a letter to Lacson and asked for forgiveness.
“I felt the sincerity of the couple,” Lacson said, adding that the letter was written by the wife.
There are netizens who questioned the move of Lacson to forgive the couple, stressing that they could have infected other people as the UK variant of Covid-19 spreads rapidly.
The couple with their son, all residents of Pontevedra, Negros Occidental, came from London and travelled via Istanbul, Turkey on Dec. 30. They arrived at the Bacolod-Silay Airport on Jan. 16 and tested positive for Covid-19 when their swab results came out, while the son yielded negative.
“I think they did not realize the gravity of what they were doing. So they probably thought just to make things faster, they just go in. But eventually, they realized their mistakes, and with remorse, they apologized,” Lacson said.
Asked if he will also forgive the three other Negrenses who committed similar violations, Lacson said he has not gotten a report but will check on it.
Lacson said there will be no second chance for the couple. “I think that is enough already. I don’t think that they have an excuse to repeat an incident like this,” he said, adding that this will also serve as warning to others not to do it.*