Lawmaker Eric Yap went to Malacañang, Congress meetings before testing positive for COVID-19

ACT-CIS Partylist Representative Eric Yap confirmed yesterday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, admitting that he attended meetings at the House of Representatives and Malacañang Palace while waiting for his test results to come in.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share to all of you that I have tested positive for coronavirus,” the 40-year-old lawmaker said in statement. Yap said that he took a test on March 15, and got his test results only yesterday.

“I feel disgruntled and angry because I knew for myself that I could put the lives of people around me at risk,” the congressman added in Filipino.

The lawmaker said that he got tested after being exposed to people who came in contact with people who later tested positive for the disease.

Yap said that between getting tested and receiving his results, he attended a meeting tackling COVID-19 at the Malacañang Palace, adding that before he went to the meeting on Saturday, he’d asked the Health Department if the results of his test had come in, but they had yet to be processed. The Department of Health has said that a person under investigation, such as Yap, should go into self-quarantine for 14 days to prevent the spread of the disease.

“I attended the meeting and was careful the whole time knowing I could potentially be a carrier of the virus,” the lawmaker said.

In addition, Yap also attended a special session at the House of Representatives on Monday, which later granted President Rodrigo Duterte additional powers in the fight against the coronavirus. The session was attended by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, among others.

The congressman appealed for understanding from the people he may have exposed to the virus, and stressed that he wasn’t showing any other symptoms when he went to work.

“I apologize and seek understanding from people I mingled with. I was paranoid because I had a slight cough but I felt it was normal for me… I wasn’t showing signs of respiratory illness. I promise. I wouldn’t lie [about that],” he said in English and Filipino.

Yap, far left, with (left to right) House Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano during a Saturday meeting in Malacañang on COVID-19. Photo posted on his Facebook March 21. Photo: Cong. Eric Yap / FB

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who met with the infected congressman on Saturday at Malacañang Palace, said in a statement today that he will undergo self-quarantine, and that authorities are “currently initiating contact tracing.” Go, who used to be the special assistant of the president, is a close ally and confidant of Duterte, and often accompanies him to meetings.

Yap is the third known Filipino politician to have contracted the virus, after Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel.

The country’s coronavirus cases, meanwhile, continue to rise, with infections climbing to 636, as of this morning. Of that number, 38 have died, and 26 have since recovered.

This article, Lawmaker Eric Yap went to Malacañang, Congress meetings before testing positive for COVID-19, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!