Complaint filed vs Koko Pimentel for breaching quarantine rules

A LAWYER has filed a complaint against Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III for violating quarantine rules and exposing several healthcare workers to the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, the highly infectious pathogen that causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Rico Quicho, founder of Quicho & Angeles Law and former dean of the University of Makati School of Law, said he filed a letter-complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) via email at 11:47 a.m. Monday, April 6.

Pimentel, for his part, said the DOJ has yet to give him a copy of the complaint.

“I haven’t read it. Sana to be fair to me, he furnishes me with a copy so I can answer or respond. DOJ, I think, will find a way to give me a copy,” the senator said.

The complaint was made nearly two weeks after Pimentel, who was supposed to be on home quarantine, breached the strict infection and containment protocols of the Makati Medical Center when he brought his pregnant wife to the delivery room complex on the evening of March 24.

While he was at the hospital, Pimentel said he received confirmation from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) that he had been found positive for the new coronavirus, or Sars-CoV-2.

Read: Hospital slams Pimentel for violating Covid-19 protocols

In a Facebook post Monday, Quicho said his complaint listed the “clear facts and circumstances that establish his (Pimentel) direct violation of RA No. 11332 and its implementing rules and other DOH regulations.”

RA 11332, or the Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases, prescribes the procedures on surveillance and response to notifiable diseases, epidemics, and health events of public health concern.

Quicho said his complaint referenced the online change.org petition that gathered around 200,000 signatures.

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

“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,” he added.

Quicho noted that Pimentel has “categorically admitted his breach without remorse”.

“And yet because of his position, he is still not being made accountable,” he added.

Quicho said he was hopeful that the DOJ would swiftly act on his complaint and pursue legal action against the senator.

“We trust that DOJ will be true to its commitment to the Filipino people to uphold the rule of law without fear or favor,” he said.

Pimentel’s breach of Department of Health (DOH) protocols for Covid-19 sparked public outcry and calls for his resignation. The Makati Medical Center denounced Pimentel, saying his action further depleted the hospital’s dwindling workforce because those exposed to the senator had to go on quarantine.

Officials, however, said the senator should be treated with compassion. Pimentel is a former Senate president and president of leading political party PDP-Laban. (Jove T. Moya/SunStar Philippines)