PNP to probe Pimentel’s COVID-19 quarantine breach ‘once complaint is filed’
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Thursday that it is prepared to undertake an investigation on Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III’s violation of COVID-19 quarantine protocols but only if a complaint is filed against the legislator.
So far, PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said they have not received any formal complaints from Makati Medical Center (MMC) where Pimentel went to supposedly accompany his wife who was purportedly scheduled to give birth.
“Once complaint is filed, formal investigation will commence and if evidence warrants, charges will be filed by PNP in court to establish that a crime was committed and the suspect committed it,” Banac said in a message to reporters, noting that an aggrieved party may also lodge a complaint.
He also noted that issuance of arrest warrants against the senator, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, is within the jurisdiction of the court.
To recall, Pimentel drew flak and the ire of netizens as news broke out that he was found positive for COVID-19 but still went to MMC. It was later also uncovered that he was actually on quarantine and might have breached the quarantine protocol for leaving their house to be with his wife in the hospital, thus, endangering healthcare personnel who are in the frontline of the battle against the highly-infectious respiratory disease.
But the senator denied that he roamed within MMC, saying he hurriedly left the health facility after the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City told him that he was COVID-19 positive.
MMC has condemned Pimentel, calling the senator’s action as reckless which exposed medical workers to the disease and added to the burden of the MMC’s frontliners responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To date, the Philippines has 707 people infected with COVID-19, including 45 deaths and 28 recoveries.
The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic since it has already infected more than 472,000 people worldwide and killed more than 21,300. On the other hand, over 114,700 people have recovered so far from the disease.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2, which outbreak started in China’s Wuhan City in Hubei province in late 2019.
People who have COVID-19 could recover since for most people, its symptoms were mild like fever and cough. But the illness could also be worse or serious for others and possibly lead to pneumonia, especially for older adults and those with existing health problems.
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