Several staff members of Barangay Batasan Hills in Quezon City have been removed for holding a Christmas party in violation of city and barangay guidelines as well as all the mandatory health protocols.

In a letter dated Dec. 23, barangay chairman Jojo Abad informed Mayor Joy Belmonte that he removed Leticia Samar, Michelle Saragcon, Ma. Elena Olesco, Nora Elizaga, Meann Ubang, Rowena Almonicar, Jocelyn Leonero, Ritchie Ancero, Manilyn Mejia, Gemma Relata, Marizen Misolas and Alejandro Cabello as barangay staff effective immediately.

“This termination of appointment is issued against the above-mentioned names from the Office of the Chairman due to disrespect of office protocols and insubordination,” Abad said in his letter.

The chairman also ordered his former staff to turn over all barangay properties in their possession for proper inventory, such as uniform, frontliner ID and barangay radio.

Belmonte, for her part, lauded Abad for his quick action on the matter, which came to fore after some netizens called them out for failure to observe social distancing, based on the pictures posted by Misolas on social media.

“Nagpapasalamat tayo kay kapitan Abad sa mabilis niyang pagkilos sa isyung ito na napakaseryosong bagay, lalo pa’t may kinalaman ito sa ating kalusugan,” said Belmonte.

“Magsilbi sana itong aral sa iba pang lingkod-bayan sa ating siyudad na palagi tayong sumunod sa mga patakaran. Magsilbi tayong magandang halimbawa sa publiko na ating pinaglilingkuran,” she added.

In a social media post, Misolas admitted she was the one who invited a team of barangay employees and volunteers for some dinner and drinks.

However, Misolas insisted that they followed the necessary health protocols, especially the 30-percent venue capacity as indicated in the localized guidelines issued by the city government. It should be noted however that the city’s guidelines were referring to essential work-related gatherings such as conferences, trainings and workshops.

As for social distancing, Misolas admitted they failed to exercise social distancing for several moments during their picture-taking session.