PNP raids illegal COVID-19 clinic

Illegal Binondo COVID-19 clinic treats Chinese nat’ls.

COMBINED agents of the National Capital Region Police Office and the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group on Tuesday evening raided a suspected clandestine COVID-19 clinic in Binondo, Manila treating Chinese nationals who have contracted the dreaded virus, NCRPO director, Major General Debold M. Sinas said.

However, no arrests were made during the service of the search warrant for violation of Republic Act 4226 or the Hospital Licensure Act as the operator of the secret clinic as well as his patients apparently managed to leave the area after the building elevator was deliberately shut down to delay the arrival of officers, the Journal Group learned.

According to Maj. Gen. Sinas, members of the NCRPO Regional Special Operations Group, the CIDG Manila District Field Unit and the Manila Police District served the search warrant for violation of RA 4226 issued by Judge Albert Tenorio of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 14 at their target clandestine clinics located at the 37th and 38th floors of Century Peak Towers at no. 475 Sta. Monica Street corner Adriatico Street in Ermita at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The official said the target of the search were the clandestine clinics of one Wang Quiwen, said to be a Chinese doctor who allegedly treated COVID-19 positive patients in the two clinics. However, the arrival of the policemen and local barangay officials was delayed after the building elevators suddenly were shut down.

As a result, officers failed to find Wang Quiwen in his supposed clinics.

Sinas said the raid was triggered by an information provided by a building insider regarding the presence of a secret COVID-19 clinic treating Chinese patients in the building.

He said the insider even provided photos of the clinic and its patients which led to the approval of the search warrant. Employees of the building likewise confirmed that for still unknown reasons, the clinics located in the two floors were hastily shut down before the raid.

Maj. Gen. Sinas said during the service of the search warrant, around 200 Chinese nationals were seen by officers running on the building corridors before entering different rooms.

He said officers who followed the Chinese nationals later saw them working on computers.

A verification showed that the Chinese nationals were employees of a POGO company with office in the said Ermita condominium. The  POGO company was issued a permit by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation last July 13.

A record check likewise showed that the Manila City Business Permit and Licensing Office also issued a local business permit to the Century Machinery Import Inc., the company providing software program and computer services to the POGO establishment.

All Chinese nationals were not placed under arrest by the raiders and their items were properly returned following verification, said Sinas.

The official said the conduct of the search was thoroughly documented with the use of video cameras and made in the presence of barangay officials. However, he said officers of the raiding teams discovered that condo tower personnel shut down the building elevator for still unknown reasons.

“This delayed the arrival of the teams at the 37th and 38th floors,” Sinas said. He added that they also discovered that CCTV system in the building was also turned off on orders of the building management.

Personnel assigned to man the CCTV system of the building left the area and only returned after the officers have left the place, the NCRPO said.