Fri. Jun 18th, 2021

MANILA – As promised, lawyer Rico Quicho has filed Monday with the Department of Justice a criminal complaint against Sen. Koko Pimentel who allegedly breached quarantine protocol.

Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the DOJ will immediately set preliminary investigation into the criminal complaint filed against the lawmaker who allegedly breached quarantine protocols amid the state of public health emergency.

Guevarra said his department “[has] been waiting for the filing of this complaint” from Atty. Quicho.

Last month Quicho threatened to sue Pimentel, who, despite being under home quarantine, went out and accompanied his wife to the Makati Medical Center delivery room on March 24, 2020.

The following day, Wednesday, MMC medical director Dr Saturnino Javier released a strongly worded statement denouncing the “irresponsible and reckless” behavior of Pimentel claiming the latter tested positive for COVID-19 hence he should not be loitering MMC premises.

In a separate story, Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque allegedly agreed with Makati Medical Center’s position that Pimentel breached quarantine protocols.

“Now that it has been filed, the justice department will immediately schedule the preliminary investigation on such date as may be appropriate, considering the current lockdown in Metro Manila,” Guevarra added.

Quicho, former University of Makati law dean, filed the complaint against Pimentel before the DOJ through electronic mail said Guevarra.

In his complaint, Quicho accused the lawmaker of violating Republic Act 11332 and its implementing rules and other Department of Health guidelines.

RA 11332 is the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act. It punishes “non-cooperation of the person or entities identified as having the notifiable disease, or affected by the health event of public concern.”

After a few days, however, the MMC backtracked and urged the public to “move on” over Pimentel’s blunder.

The Makati Medical Center also reported his presence did not cause any communication with the coronavirus as the hospital workers who came close to him all tested negative.

Last week, a senior staff of Pimentel announced the lawmaker needed hospital confinement but it was unclear whether it was related or not to his present condition with the virus.

Name of the hospital was also withheld.

Guevarra said the DOJ “will apply the law fairly and uniformly, regardless of the status of the respondent” adding the DOJ investigation is separate from, and will be done without prejudice to, the National Bureau Investigation’s fact-finding investigation.

“Leave it to us to determine whether a motu proprio (on one’s own initiative) investigation by the NBI would still be necessary,” Guevarra then-added. (ia/sovereignph.com)

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