By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Thursday that he would continue his home quarantine after his recent meeting with a congressman who tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
House Committee on Appropriations chair and party-list Rep. Eric Yap announced Wednesday night that he contracted the COVID-19. The results of his test came out days after he met Cabinet and Congress leaders in Malacañang, and their special session on Monday that gave President Duterte additional powers to deal with the pandemic.
Sotto, however, said he believes he was not exposed to Yap, who was two seats away from him during their March 21 meeting, as seen in photos provided to media.
“I’m still in home quarantine, though I don’t think I was exposed to him. The meeting with them was very short,” he told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.
He said he was also informed by Sen. Pia Cayetano that the congressman was wearing a mask most of the time and only removed it when photos were taken.
“That’s why I did not see or recognize him,” he said.
Sotto said they also practiced “safe distancing and seating” in their Palace meeting.
Yap, he added, was not included in the “real” meeting held at the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
Asked how he is doing, Sotto said, “I’m fine but people think I should take a test again. I can and I will.”
Sotto said he has been under home quarantine since March 12, after finding out that a resource person in a March 5 hearing at the Senate was a COVID-19 patient.
He said he only went out for the Palace meeting and the special session last Monday, March 23.
Sotto had tested negative for COVID-19 using an uncertified testing kit from the private sector. He said on Monday that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine has yet to release the result of the DOH-approved testing kit used on him.
Read more: Rep. Eric Yap, positive for COVID-19