Duque denies asking MMC to accommodate Pimentel

HEALTH Secretary Francisco Duque III denied rumors that Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III had sought his help after a hospital in Makati allegedly refused to admit the senator’s pregnant wife.

In a virtual press briefing aired on Thursday, March 25, Duque said he had nothing to do with the issue.

“Sa kumakalat na balita tungkol sa pagtawag ng inyong lingkod sa Makati Medical Center para tulungan o bigyang pabor ang sino man, ito po ay walang katotohanan,” Duque said.

“Hindi po ako tumawag sa Makati Medical Center para po maki-usap na kanilang tanggapin sa kanilang ospital ang asawa ni Senator Pimentel,” he added.

Pimentel earlier clarified that Duque had nothing to do with the controversy.

“Sec. Duque has and had nothing to do with our getting a room and any room at the hospital—I talked to Sec. Duque this morning, March 25, 2020, and he just asked me about my situation,” Pimentel explained.

“By that time, I have already checked my wife, Kath, in the hospital,” he added.

Pimentel is under fire for violating protocols set by the DOH for persons under monitoring and patients under investigation for the novel coronavirus.

Pimentel announced Wednesday that he has been found positive for the new coronavirus and claimed that he received the information from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine Tuesday night, while he was at the hospital.

Under the DOH protocol. a person who has been exposed to an infected person should put himself under quarantine.

Pimentel was supposed to be on quarantine when he brought his pregnant wife to the Makati Medical Center Tuesday night, March 24.

The hospital, in a statement, said the senator endangered doctors, nurses and other hospital workers, who may have to be quarantined, thus, depleting further the hospital’s dwindling workforce.

Pimentel also went shopping at the S&R in Bonifacio Global City on March 16.

Before Pimentel’s case was confirmed, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri had announced that he was infected with the novel coronavirus. Zubiri has been on home quarantine. (Jove T. Moya/SunStar Philippines)