‘Poblacion girl’ who skipped quarantine to party fined PHP20K, but netizens aren’t satisfied

·2 min read

Gwyneth Chua, the woman who skipped mandatory hotel quarantine to go bar-hopping in Poblacion, Makati City last December, has been fined PHP20,000 (US$351.51) after pleading guilty to violating Republic Act 11332, which mandates the reporting of notifiable diseases and requires everyone to cooperate during a public health crisis.

Makati City Regional Trial Court Assistant Prosecutor added that Chua “apologized for the hassle she caused.”

Chua made headlines in January and met online furor after photos of her partying and hopping bars in Poblacion in late December made the rounds — just two days after she arrived from the United States and checked in at the Berjaya Hotel for her mandatory quarantine period.

Then-Department of Tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat later confirmed that Chua had bribed the hotel’s staff to skip quarantine but later tested positive for COVID-19 — potentially causing a superspreader event that led to 15 people getting infected and causing establishments to close again after just having reopened.

Social media users expressed their outrage towards Chua, who supposedly boasted about having connections, for abusing her privilege, endangering others, and contributing to a surge of COVID-19 cases in the metro. She was “Poblacion girl.”

Under the Notifiable Diseases Act, violators of the quarantine can face a fine between PHP20,000 to PHP50,000 (US$878.26), and/or be imprisoned from one to six months under the Notifiable Diseases Act.

Yet many on social media were unsatisfied with the penalty Chua received, believing she was charged the bare minimum.

“The law really does favor the rich, no? Imagine putting people’s lives at risk and you don’t even get jail time for doing such?” One person commented.

“Poblacion girl being fined a mere 20k is a joke considering the damage she’s caused,” another said.

“Just 20k? She affected so many people and businesses and she’s just being fined 20k? There really is no justice in the Philippines,” one complained.