DOH endorses lawsuit vs Koko Pimentel
The Department of Health (DOH) endorsed to the National Bureau of Investigation the complaint against Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III for his supposed breach of quarantine protocols in March.
But Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire pointed out on Friday that their endorsement of lawyer Rico Quicho’s complaint was part of their regular process in handling such matters.
“This is really the process when we receive such complaints. It’s usually administrative for us at DOH. But with regard to this, there’s another process needed so we have submitted it to proper authorities,” Vergeire said.
Quicho sued Pimentel for his violation of Republic Act No. 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, and the charge is being evaluated by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The DOJ is also evaluating Pimentel’s supposed violation of three DOH issuances on quarantine measures implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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, former law school dean of the University of Makati.
Quicho charged Pimentel for breaking quarantine when he accompanied his then pregnant wife to the Makati Medical Center, although he was awaiting the results of a COVID-19 that turned out to be positive.
The hospital’s medical director, Saturnino Javier, subsequently slammed Pimentel for endangering public health and showed video footages of the senator interacting with hospital personnel.
Under DOH protocols, those who have already been tested for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, should limit their interaction and stay at
home to minimize the risk of them infecting others.
She noted that isolating oneself is necessary since the primary reason a person is tested is because of his exposure to an infected individual or he himself is exhibiting symptoms.
“Even if the results are not out, they have to comply with the quarantine procedure of having to be isolated for 14 days. That’s what we always emphasize. It cannot be that just because you’re waiting for the release of your results you [can] already go out. You need to comply,” Vergeire said.
“Whatever your test result is, either it be positive or negative, you need to go on quarantine. I think the public should understand that this is what is needed to be done,” she added.
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