DOJ: No arrest, no action on Pimentel's breach of hospital protocol sans complaint
Sen. Koko Pimentel is the president of PDP-Laban.
Senate PRIB/Joseph Vidal, File

DOJ: No arrest, no action on Pimentel's breach of hospital protocol sans complaint

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - March 25, 2020 - 8:32pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice will not yet investigate Sen. Koko Pimentel III, who was admonished by Makati Medical Center for violating “his home quarantine protocol” until a formal complaint is filed.

Pimentel will not be subjected to a warrantless arrest either, Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said, saying there is no reason to do so. Warrantless arrests are allowed when a suspect is committing or has just committed the alleged crime.

The entire country is currently under a State of Public Health Emergency, a power under Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

Under the law, “non-cooperation of the person or entities identified as having the notifiable disease, or affected by the health event of public concern.”

Guevarra has asserted that the said provision—warned by rights lawyers as vague and broad—may be used for violators of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

READ: Amid 'physical closure' of courts, Guevarra asserts on arrest for quarantine violators

The Philippines is also under a State of National Emergency over the COVID-19 outbreak.


Asked about a potential investigation into Pimentel’s accountability, Guevarra invoked his earlier statement on tempering the rigor of law with human compassion.

“As I have said before, during abnormal times like these, when people are prone to commit mistakes or violations of the law, the DOJ will temper the rigor of the law with human compassion,” Guevarra told reporters.

He pointed out that “facts are unfolding by themselves” and parties are speaking out.

“Leave it us to determine whether a motu proprio (on one's own initiative) investigation by the NBI would still be necessary,” Guevarra added.

Motu proprio 

RELATED: NBI to go after people 'causing panic, undermining government efforts' amid nCoV threat

Should a party of the case sue, Guevarra assured that the DOJ will act on that complaint.

Pimentel’s breach of quarantine protocol

Pimentel earlier Wednesday announced that he tested positive on the novel coronavirus disease.

MMC however denounced Pimentel’s “irresponsible and reckless action” as he entered the premises of the hospital’s Medical Center Delivery Room Complex.

The senator “unduly exposed health workers to possible infection” when he brought his wife, Kath, who was about to give birth to the hospital, Medical Director and Interim Co-CEO Saturnino Javier said.

This despite Pimentel reporting to the Senate with his colleague Sen. Miguel Zubiri who also tested positive on COVID-19 last week.

The senator also admitted that he started feeling body pains and flu on March 14, according to an ABS-CBN report. He also had diarrhea and had fever at 38 degrees Celsius, symptoms listed by the Health Department on its triage, on March 18.

Javier said: "He (Pimentel) added to the burden of a hospital trying to respond in its most competent and aggressive manner to cope with the daunting challenges of this COVID-19 outbreak. More than anyone else, Mr. Pimentel, should have realized the ardent desire of every well-meaning Filipino and every dedicated healthcare institution to contain the spread of the infection.”

MMC said that employees who were identified and evaluated will be quarantined “if the risk of exposure warrants it.”

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