(March 25, 2020) – A member of the lower chamber of Congress deeply involved in recent legislation to grant the president additional powers to combat the spread of the coronavirus announced on Wednesday that he himself had contracted the disease.
Partylist Representative Eric Yap, chairman of the House Appropriations committee, said in a statement that he took the test on March 15, after coming into contact with known COVID-19 individuals in the course of his duties.
He said he only obtained the confirmatory results from the health department today.
“Inis at galit ang naramdaman ko,” Yap said. “Dahil alam ko sa sarili ko na maaaring nailagay ko sa alanganin ang buhay ng mga taong nakapaligid sa akin.”
The lawmaker attended a meeting of congressional leaders and top government officials in Malacanang during the weekend, with a number of Cabinet secretaries in attendance.
Present at the Palace were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and secretaries Sonny Dominguez of finance, Eduardo Ano of the interior, Wendell Avisado of budget, and Rolando Bautista of social welfare.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senator Lawrence Christopher “Bong” Go, and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano were also present.
The meeting was held prior to the special sessions of both chambers of Congress on Monday to pass the COVID-19 emergency powers bill, recently signed into law by the president.
Yap was present at the special session of the House and even sponsored the bill that granted the executive branch’s request for extra presidential powers to help stem the spread of the disease.
“Humihingi ako ng patawad at pag-unawa mula sa mga taong nakasalamuha ko,” he said.
Yap’s announcement comes after another lawmaker, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, revealed that he has the coronavirus.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri was the first lawmaker in the country to test positive for COVID-19.
Yap represents the Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community and Support partylist. He also serves as the caretaker congressman of Benguet’s lone district. (Christian de Lano Deiparine/JMF)
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