Complaint vs Pimentel over quarantine breach now up for resolution
This undated photo shows Sen. Koko Pimentel.
Senate PRIB/Joseph Vidal, File
Complaint vs Pimentel over quarantine breach now up for resolution
(Philstar.com) - July 24, 2020 - 4:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice wrapped up its preliminary investigation into the complaint against Sen. Koko Pimentel who breached quarantine protocols.

Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento told reporters that lawyer Rico Quicho, who filed the complaint, filed a reply to Pimentel’s counter-affidavit. Pimentel also filed his own rejoinder.

“Case now submitted for decision,” the prosecutor general confirmed.

Quicho first filed his complaint against Pimentel on April 6, via electronic mail. He accused Pimentel of violating Republic Act 11332 or the mandatory reporting of notifiable disease when the lawmaker went to Makati Medical Center with his wife despite his pending COVID-19 test results, which later turned out to be positive.

The senator has since apologized for breaking the hospital’s containment protocols, while MMC said it “noted” his apology.

Proceedings on the complaint however suffered delays due to lockdown enforcement and procedural requirements such as the physical filing of the complaint.

Pimentel defense

Pimentel, in a letter sent to Philstar.com, said he did not delay the proceedings in the preliminary investigation, and said he only asked for one extension for the filing of his counter-affidavit.

In his defense filed, Pimentel said he was not a person under investigation when he underwent COVID-19 testing on March 20. He said that some of the people who tested for the coronavirus then were “simply VIPs.”

As early as March 11, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said he would go under isolation after a resource speaker at a Senate hearing tested positive for COVID-19. Five days later, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri disclosed he acquired the coronavirus.

Pimentel said he started feeling symptoms such as body pains and flu on March 14.

Under DOH's standards at the time, a PUI is a person who at least two of these qualifications:

  • Signs and symptoms
  • Travel history in the past 14 days to areas with issued travel restrictions
  • History of exposure

Last week, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said their department endorse Quicho’s complaints to the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police. — Kristine Joy Patag

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE KOKO PIMENTEL
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