Tell it to Sunstar: Rehab CEO and staff ‘kept stockholders in the dark’ about Covid situation

·4 min read

THIS is in reaction to the news article “Talamban Rehab on Lockdown,” which ran on Oct. 29, 2021.

I am a part-owner and stockholder of the aforementioned rehab under lockdown. My spouse and I own 10 percent of the stocks, with my spouse as a member of the Board of Directors. I would like to humbly point out that the statement in the news article saying that the rehab on its own accord decided to “seek the EOC’s help” is inaccurate.

In actuality, what happened was that the rehab’s CEO, upon learning that he had several orderlies inside the facility who were Covid-19 suspects, directed one of the recovery coaches, who happens to be a non-practicing nurse to conduct their own DIY test in what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to cover up information that would be damaging to business. All of these Covid-suspect orderlies afterwards were still given shifts inside the facility.

The rehab staff posted a video on their Facebook page of a rehab alumnus who was at one time featured in (the TV program) “Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho,” assuring the public that all is well inside the facility. It speaks volumes that this video, for whatever reason, was taken down by the staff a few hours later when it started getting “shares” on socmed. Various clients residing inside the rehab informed us that the CEO had purchased oxygen tanks when several people started experiencing difficulty in breathing, in an apparent attempt at a DIY approach at treating what is arguably the most deadly virus on the planet.

Being part-owners of the rehab, my spouse and I were impelled to act. Fully aware that Republic Act 11332 CRIMINALIZES intentionally providing misinformation (Sec. 9 (b)); Non-operation of the disease surveillance and response systems (Sec. 9 (c)); Non-cooperation of persons and entities that should report and/or respond to notifiable diseases or health events of public concern, we notified and confronted the CEO regarding the information we had at hand, via Facebook group chat (we did not want to risk infection via a face-to-face meeting and the CEO has himself been previously messaging us via Messenger), copying in the rest of the rehab stockholders for transparency. All our messages were seen and ignored by this CEO. At that point it had already been TEN DAYS since the CEO had known of having Covid-suspect people inside the facility. RA 11332 Implementing Rules is very clear on the mandatory requirement of reporting such health events WITHIN 24 HOURS from identification.

Because my spouse and I did not want to be a party to the criminal act of non-reporting of possible Covid cases, neither as accomplices nor as accessories, I called the number to the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) hotline. I was given the number to the “extraction team” whereby I spoke to a Dr. Jonathan Navales, who, immediately realizing the urgency of the situation, referred me to his boss, Mr. Renzo del Rosario, cluster head of the EOC.

It was my spouse and I who brought Mr. Del Rosario along with his ambulances and police cars to the gates of the rehab where they were barred from entry by someone introducing himself as a rehab recovery coach. This so-called coach stood between us and the gate and outright lied to our faces, telling us that they have in fact already coordinated with the barangay and that barangay personnel and doctors already were inside the facility, conducting tests right that very moment. This, of course, proved to be absolutely false. We are currently preparing a suit against the CEO, the Center Director of the main facility, the Center Director of the annex halfway house and the recovery coach who conducted the DIY Covid tests for criminal violations of RA 11332, Sec. 10.

In sum, this was not a case of the rehab facility “seeking the EOC’s help” but a case of stockholders being deliberately kept unaware of a crucial health event of public concern by the CEO and his staff. It took a whistleblower report to the EOC, which finally—due to the admirable dedication of Mr. Renzo del Rosario to his duty—resulted in the place being quarantined, despite vigorous pushback by the CEO and his staff.

Currently, the rehab staff is attempting some sort of social media blitz trying to minimize the situation: that all this is “fake news;” that after all, there are “only” 14 positive cases found; the CEO falsely claiming on a radio interview that the cases are all from the street dwellers he took in supposedly out of the goodness of his heart (nope, it was the staff); that even granting that there were positive cases found, most of them were asymptomatic etc.

This is all nothing but static and noise. There is so much razzle dazzle and misdirection being thrown up as a smokescreen by this rehab to distract from the ONE SINGLE RELEVANT ISSUE here: Is the rehab CEO along with his staff in criminal violation of the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act? The answer: a resounding YES.

(The letter writer, a stockholder of Safe Haven, has requested not to be named.)

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