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List of Philippine public figures who underwent COVID-19 testing

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The following is a list of Philippine public figures, along with their immediate family members and staff, who were tested for the coronavirus disease 2019 and publicly disclosed it.


Scarcity of tests[edit]

The Philippine government did not have the capacity to test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus until January 30, 2020, when the government-run Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) was finally able to run confirmatory tests. Until that date, samples from suspected COVID-19 cases had to be sent to Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia for testing.[1]

However, there were still very few testing kits in the Philippines, and the RITM was still the only laboratory that had the ability to process test results. By March 9, 2020, only 200 to 250 tests could be processed per day.[2]

By March 23, the number had gone up to almost 1000 a day, as new laboratories gained the capacity to process test results and various entities donated about 100,000 test kits to the RITM. But the Philippines' overall capacity to do COVID-19 testing was still very limited given the national spread of the disease.[3]

Philippine triage decision guidelines[edit]

As soon as the government gained the ability to conduct COVID-19 tests locally, they developed a triage algorithm which would serve as a "decision tool." This would determine which patients would be allowed to use the few available test kits, and the processing time of the few Philippine laboratories capable of doing COVID-19 tests.[4]

The algorithm sorted people into "Persons Under Investigation" (PUI), who would be given tests; and "Persons Under Monitoring" (PUM), who would not be tested, but rather told to go into a 14-day self quarantine.[4]

Prioritized testing of government officials[edit]

While some VIPs were legitimately on the priority list for testing, some of them who were not PUIs did not follow the medical protocol outlined by Department of Health's triage algorithm and were tested ahead of the symptomatic people who were in the priority list, hence the VIP treatment controversy.[5][6][7][8] This included family members and the staff of current and former government officials.[9][10]

The DOH later issued a statement saying that these tests were a 'courtesy' rather than 'VIP treatment' saying that "there is no policy for VIP treatment and that all specimens are being processed on a first-in, first-out basis with courtesy accorded to officials holding positions of national security and public health.[11]

Public outcry[edit]

This bypassing of the testing protocol of supposed VIPs has resulted in public outcry, given the scarcity of COVID-19 testing kits available to the public. In March 22, 2020, the hastags #NoToVIPTesting as well as #CheckYourPrivilege was trending on Twitter, reflecting public anger on the issue.[12][13][14]

Some politicians issued apologies for getting tested, acknowledging that they “may have skipped” the protocols set by the DOH for determining which patients needed to get tested first.[15]

List of tested public figures[edit]


The following is a list of public officials who underwent COVID-19 testing.


National government[edit]
  • President Rodrigo Duterte – negative[6][12][16][17][18]
  • Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea – negative[19]
  • Health Secretary Francisco Duque – negative[20]
Tested after a director at his department was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19. Duque is asthmatic and hypertensive.
  • Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año – positive[21]
  • Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado – negative[22]
  • Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade – negative[12][22]
  • Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez – negative[19]
  • Public Works Secretary Mark Villar – negative[19]
  • Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana – negative[23]
  • Chief of Staff of the AFP Felimon Santos - positive[24][25]
  • Metropolitan Manila Development Authority General Manager Jojo Garcia – positive[26]
  • Director General of the Philippine National Police Archie Gamboa – negative[27]
Asymptomatic, acknowledged bypassing the DOH's protocol and triage testing algorithm, apologized to public.
  • Rebecca Ynares (Rizal) – positive[29]
  • Leopoldo Bataoil (Lingayen, Pangasinan) – negative. Had persistent cough and was exposed to the Filipina who tested positive in Australia.[30]
  • Philip Crispino (Caba, La Union) – positive[31]
  • Ferdie Estrella (Baliuag, Bulacan) – positive[32]
  • Joric Garula (Taytay, Rizal) – positive[33]
  • Isko Moreno (Manila City) – negative[34][35]
  • Cesar Chavez (Moreno's chief of staff), other city hall officials who accompanied mayor during trip to London – TBA[35]
  • Francis Zamora (San Juan, Metro Manila) – negative[36]
Vice Mayors[edit]



The Senate held a hearing concerning the Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture on March 5, 2020 where a resource person later tested positive for COVID-19.[6]

He said he received a rapid testing kit from friends from South Korea, though not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Koko Pimentel - positive.[46]
Despite being symptomatic since March 14, he still accompanied his pregnant wife to Makati Medical Center, breaching the quarantine protocol,[47] and possibly infecting the already overstretched medical professionals there.[46][48][49][50][51]
Sotto said that the first test was made using a kit not accredited by the DOH. He subsequently took a second test, this time using a DOH-accredited kit after he began exhibitng dry cough and sore throat.[52] Stated that he was willing to take a 3rd test after exposure to Rep. Eric Go Yap.[53]
Said that his testing kit did not come from the DOH. Took the test believing he has been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 and began exhibiting symptoms.[14][52]
The first national-level elected official to test positive in the Philippines. Tested despite being asymptomatic. Suspected to be a false positive by Health Secretary Duque who would have Zubiri tested again if not for the limited stock of testing kits.
House of Representatives[edit]
On March 27, the RITM reached out and apologized to Yap, informing him that he actually tested negative and correcting the initial positive result as brought by an "encoding error".[55][63]
Municipal councilors[edit]
  • Donna Crispino (Caba, La Union) – positive[31]
  • Vicente Ryan “Enteng ” Malapitan (Caloocan) – positive[64]


Supreme Court[edit]
  • Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta – negative[65]
Had history of travelling to the Netherlands in early March 2020 and exhibited symptoms.

Former government officials[edit]

  • Former Senator Heherson Alvarez – positive[66]
  • Former Senator Bongbong Marcos – positive [67]
Tested along with wife Liza and entire staff with negative results in a single day according to wife's March 26, 2020 statement via The Philippine Star,[9] but still awaited results.[10][68][69][70]
Noted to have a recent travel history to Spain.[9]
  • Former First Lady and Ilocos congresswoman and governor Imelda Marcos – TBA[14]
  • Former special envoy to China Ramon Tulfo – negative[15][71][72]
  • Former Finance Secretary and Prime Minister Cesar Virata – positive[66]

Family members of Philippine government officials[edit]

The following is a list of individuals who were given COVID-19 testing at the same time as their relatives who were either government officials or former government officials.

Relatives of President Rodrigo Duterte[edit]
  • Honeylet Avanceña (common-law wife) – TBA[12][18]
On March 17, according to Senator Go, their swab tests were conducted in Davao City.[38]
Relatives and staff of Former Senator Bongbong Marcos[edit]
  • Liza Marcos (wife) – negative[9][10][69]
  • Staff members of the Bongbong and Liza Marcos – negative[9][10][69]
Relatives of Senator Koko Pimentel[edit]
  • Kathryn Pimentel (wife)  – TBA[73]

Relatives of Senator Miguel Zubiri

See also[edit]

Other articles of the topic Philippines : Michael Vicente, CDO Foodsphere, Inc., The Philippine School, Dubai, Jastisse Arnaldo Tang Tejada III, Philippines at major beauty pageants, Arki Alumni Basketball, Tropical Storm Krovanh (2020)
Some use of "" in your query was not closed by a matching "".Some use of "" in your query was not closed by a matching "".

  • COVID-19 testing
  • Impact of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic on politics
  • 2020 coronavirus pandemic in the Philippines
  • 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic


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External links[edit]

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