DOJ: No probe yet vs Pimentel for violating home quarantine
MANILA, Philippines — For now, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will not conduct an investigation on Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel’s action breaching his quarantine when he went to the Makati Medical Center (MMC) to accompany his pregnant wife.
Pimentel admitted that he tested positive of COVID-19 and learned of the result while he was at MMC. He said after learning of the result via phone call from the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM), he immediately left the hospital.
The senator, the second member of the upper House to test positive for the disease, said he started isolating himself from his wife after he started feeling flu-like symptoms last March 14. A person under investigation or person under monitoring are required to self-isolate for 14 days if they believed to have been exposed to a COVID-19 carrier, began feeling its symptoms, or had travel history to places with COVID-19 cases.
He was only on his 10th day of isolation when he accompanied his wife to the hospital.
MMC has denounced Pimentel’s action calling it “irresponsible and reckless.”
“The facts are unfolding by themselves. The parties directly concerned are speaking publicly about the incident. Third parties (some thirsting for blood) are bringing in information from all sources into the open,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters.
“Leave it to us to determine whether a motu propio [on its own] investigation by the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) would still be necessary,” he added.
Guevarra said, “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.”
But he pointed out that it does not mean that it will not act on a complaint that will be filed by any interested party.
The government earlier warned that quarantine violators may be arrested and charged for violating Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code which “punishes resistance and disobedience to a person in authority or the agents of such person” and violation of Republic Act No. 11332 — the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
RA 11332 provides polices and measures for surveillance and response to notifiable diseases and protect Filipinos from any public health threats. One of its prohibited act is the “non-cooperation of the person or entities identified as having the notifiable disease, or affected by the health event of public concern.”
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