Pastor in Cagayan De Oro City arrested for holding church service amid quarantine

Authorities arrested a pastor on Sunday after presiding over a church service with around 500 attendees in Cagayan de Oro City despite a city-wide quarantine.

An Evangelical Pastor Alfred Caslam of The Word of God Spirit and Life Ministries Inc. was nabbed for ignoring social distancing measures enforced by city hall to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

Mayor Oscar Moreno placed the city under community quarantine on March 19.

Caslam faces charges for violation of Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code for resistance and disobedience to persons in authority; and Section 9 of R.A. 11332, for non-cooperation related to health events of public concern.

Penalties of arresto mayor or imprisonment of one month and a day to six months and a fine not exceeding ₱500 are meted to those who violate Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code.

Violators of Section 9 of R.A. 11332, meanwhile, face a fine ranging from ₱20,000 to ₱50,000, or imprisonment of one to six months, or both.

The city government also ordered the closure of the church.

CNN Philippines stringer Alwen Saliring contributed to this report.