Health department endorses complaint against Senator Pimentel for quarantine violations

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The Department of Health (DoH) on Friday said that it endorsed a lawyer’s complaint against Senator Aquilino Martin D. Pimentel III for breaching quarantine protocols for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) last March.

In a morning briefing on Friday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario S. Vergeire said they forwarded the complaint of lawyer Rico Paolo R. Quicho to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“We have endorsed the complaint to the appropriate authorities such as the NBI and PNP,” she said.

Ms. Vergeire added, “Usually administrative sa amin (we deal with the administrative) but with regards to this, ibang process ang kailangan (a different process is needed) so we have submitted it to the proper authorities,” she said.

Mr. Quicho filed a complaint in April against the senator for violating quarantine when he brought his pregnant wife to the hospital even if he was a person under investigation (PUI) for exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. The positive results of the senator’s test for the virus were released on March 24, the day he accompanied his wife to the Makati Medical Center.

The Department of Justice said it would not investigate the senator’s violation due to “compassion” unless a complaint was filed before the agency.

Mr. Pimentel said in a counter-affidavit he submitted this week that he was not a PUI at the time.

A person was considered PUI if they had symptoms of a respiratory illness such as a cough or a cold, a fever above 37.5 degrees Celsius, shortness of breath or fatigue; and either had a travel history to countries with local transmission of the virus in the past 14 days or a history of exposure to a COVID-19 patient.

Mr. Pimentel had earlier said that he had symptoms of the flu on March 14 and was tested for the coronavirus on March 20.

The PUI and PUM (person under monitoring) classifications were dropped in April in favor of a new system which classifies people as suspect, probably, and confirmed to have COVID-19. — Gillian M. Cortez