Preliminary probe into Pimentel's quarantine breach reset anew
This Feb. 4, 2020 photo shows Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III wearing a face mask during a Senate hearing on COVID-19.
The STAR/Mong Pintolo

Preliminary probe into Pimentel's quarantine breach reset anew

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - June 16, 2020 - 12:17pm

MANILA, Philippines — The preliminary investigation into the complaint against Sen. Koko Pimentel for breaching quarantine protocols set on Thursday has again been pushed back to a still undetermined later date.

Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento told reporters on Tuesday that the preliminary probe has been reset. “We ordered complainant to comply with procedural requirements, such as submission of original complaints and attachments,” he added.

Private lawyer Rico Quicho filed his complaint against Pimentel on April 6 via electronic mail. This was during enhanced community quarantine protocols were enforced in Luzon.

In a Facebook post, Quicho said his letter-complaint detailed “clear facts and circumstances that establish his direct violation of Republic Act 11332 and its implementing rules and other [Department of Health] regulations.”

The initial hearing of the preliminary investigation into Quicho’s complaint was tentatively set on May 20. But since Metro Manila continued to be under modified ECQ on the said date, it was pushed back to June 18.

Malcontento said that if Quico would not comply with “procedural requirements,” the prosecution will deem the complaint submitted for resolution even without Pimentel’s counter-affidavit.

“If he (Quicho) will not comply, no need to counter because the respondent is entitled to get all evidence against him,” Malcontento said.

“The prosecutor can decide based on what is available,” he added.

The order was mailed to the complainant last week, the prosecutor general said. He was given ten days to comply within receipt of order.

Should Quicho comply with DOJ order and submit a physical copy of the complaint and pieces of evidence, then Pimentel will be given time to refute the allegations.

“Definitely he (Pimentel) will be given a period to answer. It will be through submission of affidavits and evidence only. No need for face to face hearings,” Malcontento also said.

Pimentel’s quarantine breach

The Makati Medical Center previously admonished Pimentel for breaking its containment protocol when he brought his then-pregnant wife to the hospital while he was waiting for the results of his COVID-19 test, which turned out to be positive.

Pimentel has since apologized for breaking the hospital’s containment protocols.

MMC said they “noted” Pimentel’s apology.

The NBI also said in April that they are conducting a fact-finding investigation into Pimentel, but has yet to release an update on this.

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