Pimentel calls complaint over quarantine breach ‘baseless case’
MANILA, Philippines — “Baseless case.”
This was how Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III branded the legal action taken against him for breaching COVID-19 quarantine protocols, as he opted to keep private the content of the counter-affidavit he submitted to the justice department.
Former law dean Rico Quicho sued Pimentel for alleged violation of protocols imposed by the government to curb the transmission of the coronavirus in March.
“The [Q]uicho complaint is supposed to be a legal matter not a political one. Hence respecting the principle of sub judice analogously, the counter affidavit is for submission to the DOJ [Department of Justice] and not to the media,” Pimentel told reporters in a Viber message when sought for comment regarding the case.
“We better ask Atty. Quicho why he is pursuing his baseless case before the media. As if his rantings will ‘influence the jury.’ Di pa ba obvious who is after the free media exposure? Kala ko kasi itong kaso na ito ay ‘in pursuit of justice?’ Baka naman in pursuit of something else.”
“Come 2022 masasabi niyo na tama pala ako,” he added.
Quicho filed the complaint in April, accusing Pimentel of violating Republic Act No. 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events Act of 2018, and other regulations of the Department of Health (DOH), when the lawmaker accompanied his then-pregnant wife to the Makati Medical Center (MMC) despite being on the 10th day of his quarantine after manifesting symptoms of the disease.
While in the Makati hospital, Pimentel received a call from the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) confirming he is positive for the highly infectious SARS-CoV-2, which causes serious respiratory illness COVID-19.
According to the senator, he immediately left MMC after learning of the result. Subsequently, MMC denounced Pimentel’s actions, calling it a breach of infection control protocols as it was it “irresponsible and reckless.”
MMC had also slammed Pimentel for violating the strict guidelines of social distancing, quarantine, and hygiene, and said his actions created more problems for the rapidly depleting healthcare sector as threats of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to persist.
Pimentel has since apologized to the hospital but maintained he did not intentionally violate COVID-19 quarantine protocols. He likewise stressed he did not mean to “do harm on anyone.”
DOH has confirmed it has already forwarded the complaint against the senator to the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.