DOJ terminates re-investigation; complaint vs Pimentel up for resolution

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
DOJ terminates re-investigation; complaint vs Pimentel up for resolution
This file photo shows Sen. Koko Pimentel.
Senate PRIB / Joseph Vidal, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice has terminated the re-investigation into the complaint against Sen. Koko Pimentel, this time with a report from the Makati Medical Center, over his quarantine protocol breach in March.

Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon confirmed to reporters that the complaint was submitted for resolution on Wednesday. “I’m waiting for report of [Assistant State Prosecutor Wendell Bendoval] but already told him to resolve it ASAP,” Fadullon added.

Pimentel, at the Malacañang’s Laging Handa briefing also on Thursday morning, confirmed that the complaint was submitted for resolution.

“So let us just wait for the DOJ but like what I said earlier, follow the evidence. If there is no evidence then there is nothing to follow,” Pimentel said in a mix of English and Filipino.

The complaint first filed by lawyer Rico Quicho was submitted for resolution on July 24. The private lawyer filed the complaint after the lawmaker brought his then-pregnant wife to the Makati hospital while waiting for the result of his COVID-19 test, which later turned out to be positive.

DOJ re-opened the preliminary investigation into the complaint against Pimentel after it received a memorandum from the National Bureau of Investigation, which included a copy of Incident Reports submitted by MMC Medical Director Saturnino Javier.

Javier said in March that Pimentel “violated his Home Quarantine Protocol [and] entered the premises of the Medical Center Delivery Room Complex.”

READ: Pimentel violated hospital protocols vs infection — Makati Medical Center

Quicho accused Pimentel of violating 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.” The DOJ 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.

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