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DOJ: Public may appeal Pimentel acquittal
“The resolution of the investigating prosecutor in the case… may be the subject of an appeal to the Office of the Secretary. So it is not proper for me to make any comments on the resolution at this time,” DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, File

DOJ: Public may appeal Pimentel acquittal

Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - January 23, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After the Department of Justice received flak for clearing Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III of violating quarantine protocols, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday the public can appeal the decision.

“The resolution of the investigating prosecutor in the case… may be the subject of an appeal to the Office of the Secretary. So it is not proper for me to make any comments on the resolution at this time,” he said.

Guevarra added that the public can file a petition for review with the DOJ secretary’s office “under the rules of the National Prosecution Service on appeals.”

The public has slammed the decision, with many saying that quarantine protocols are only meant for the powerless and the poor.

Pimentel, a lawyer, was criticized after he allegedly violated quarantine protocols when he went to the Makati Medical Center (MMC) last year to accompany his pregnant wife even if he was already manifesting symptoms of COVID-19.

Lawyer Rico Quicho filed the complaint against Pimentel for violating Republic Act 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines.

In an interview, Quicho criticized the prosecutors on how they interpreted the law when they said Pimentel should not be held accountable for not disclosing his health status as he is not someone from the Department of Health.

“They would just have to justify how they would let go of Koko Pimentel while thousands of ordinary citizens languish in jail because of breach of protocol. It is what it is. Nakakahiya (Shameful),” he said.

“The DOJ tried and they missed the point,” he added.

The DOJ said Quicho was not the proper party to file the case, noting that the evidence he presented was based on news reports.

The MMC, however, submitted to the DOJ a report on the incident.

As far as Guevarra is concerned, the DOJ will always uphold the fairness of the law and equal justice for all.

Guevarra said a large number of people arrested for quarantine violations “were subsequently released and their cases were dismissed by DOJ inquest prosecutors.”

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