Case vs Pimentel submitted for resolution

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    A LAWYER’S complaint against Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel for alleged breach of quarantine protocols last March has been submitted for resolution, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said yesterday.

    Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Fadullon said he has directed Assistant State Prosecutor Wendell Bendoval to prioritize the resolution of the case filed by lawyer Rico Quicho.

    The case was originally submitted for resolution last July after Pimentel submitted his counter-affidavit but the DOJ reopened the probe early this month after the National Bureau of Investigation submitted additional evidence, including an incident report submitted by Dr. Saturnino Javier, director of the Makati Medical Center where the protocol breach happened.

    Quicho accused Pimentel of violating Republic Act 13332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases Act and other regulations issued by the health department when he accompanied his then expectant wife, Kathryna, to the Makati Medical Center on March 24.

    At that time, Pimentel was supposed to be on home quarantine as he had shown symptoms of COVID-19 as early as March 14, and had even tested himself for the virus on March 20.

    Pimentel learned he was positive for the virus also on March 24 when he was at the MMC.

    He has also said he left the hospital immediately after he learned about the test result.

    In his counter-affidavit, Pimentel said Quicho’s complaint is based mostly on news reports.

    He said he was also not a person under investigation when he went to the hospital with his wife, and as such, he was not required to undergo the mandatory quarantine.

    “Atty. Quicho theorizes that by having a sample collected for COVID-19 testing on March 20, 2020, I was already identified as a person under investigation and therefore required to undergo the mandatory self- quarantine. His reasoning is that since a PUI has to be tested, then all those who have been tested are PUI,” Pimentel said.