Koko Pimentel: Protocols may have changed over time
Apparently justifying his actions amid threats of possible legal sanctions, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Friday said the government’s existing protocols in handling infectious diseases such as COVID-19 might have “changed over time.”
Pimentel, son and namesake of the late revered anti-Marcos figure Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., has been strongly criticized for flouting mandated quarantine procedures when he accompanied his expectant wife to the Makati Medical Center (MMC) on Tuesday night despite knowing he had been exposed to a person infected with the coronavirus.
‘In a state of flux’
“I will respond to their specific allegations in due time after we read them and compare [them with] what’s in the law,” Pimentel said in a Viber message when asked to comment on the possible cases to be filed against him.
“We are in an entirely new environment where everything is in a state of flux. I believe even the so-called protocols have changed over time,” he added, seemingly courting another public backlash.
“Everything will be clarified in due time,” he said.
Owning up to his mistake, the senator apologized to MMC and asked for understanding as he reiterated that he did not intend to jeopardize the safety of health workers and other individuals when he brought his wife, Kathryna, to the hospital for her scheduled delivery of their first-born.
Under Republic Act No. 11332, a person may face up to six years in prison for failure to “report and/or respond to notifiable diseases or health events of public concern.”
MMC medical director Dr. Saturnino Javier said Pimentel did not inform the hospital that he had been under quarantine and that he had symptoms of COVID-19.
In a scathing statement, Javier slammed Pimentel for his “irresponsible and reckless” action that exposed the hospital’s already depleted workforce to danger and forced some of their doctors and nurses to go on quarantine.
But the senator said he was not aware he had tested positive for the virus and that he hurriedly left the hospital upon learning of his condition.
Pimentel, a bar topnotcher, said he was ready to answer any complaint against him.
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