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Lawyer files complaint vs Pimentel for breaching quarantine

/ 02:14 PM April 06, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — A lawyer filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday a complaint against Senator Aquilino Pimentel III for the latter’s “direct violation” of the law when he allegedly breached his quarantine, in violation of health protocols to contain coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“At 11:47 AM today (April 6, 2020), I filed with the Department of Justice (‘DOJ’) through electronic mail, a Letter-Complaint against Senator Koko Pimentel detailing the clear facts and circumstances that establish his direct violation of RA No. 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act) and its implementing rules and other DOH regulations,” lawyer Rico Quicho said in a Facebook post.

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In a message sent via Messenger to INQUIRER.net, he said the DOJ replied at 12:40 p.m. and received his letter-complaint.

He said the document referenced an online petition that gathered around 200,000 signatures calling for legal action against the senator for violating his quarantine protocols.

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Quicho said he is one with the Filipino people in condemning “negligent and reckless acts which expose the public, especially our health workers, to unnecessary risks.”

Pimentel has yet to read the complaint as of posting time.

“Sana (I hope that) to be fair to me, he furnishes me with a copy so I can answer or respond,” he said in a Viber message to reporters.

Pimentel, along with other senators, went under self-quarantine after a resource person at a Senate hearing on March 5 tested positive for coronavirus disease. Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri also later tested positive for the illness, as well as Senator Sonny Angara.

But instead of adhering to quarantine protocols, Pimentel went to the Makati Medical Center on March 24 to accompany his then pregnant wife who was at the time due for delivery of their first baby. Pimentel said that he only learned of his positive diagnosis for COVID-19 when he was already at the hospital and that he immediately left after learning he had contracted the illness.

“As a lawyer and advocate of the rule of law, I cannot in good conscience allow the reckless actions of Senator Koko Pimentel to be brushed aside so easily. He blatantly violated laws, which put the lives and health of frontliners and even ordinary citizens at grave risk,” said Quicho.

“He has categorically admitted his breach without remorse. And yet because of his position, he is still not being made accountable,” the lawyer added.

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Quicho said he hopes the DOJ will swiftly act on the matter and pursue legal actions against Pimentel, adding he trusts that the justice department will be true to its commitment to uphold the rule of law without fear or favor.

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, Koko Pimentel, Rico Quicho, Self-Quarantine
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