The Department of Justice dismissed a criminal complaint against Senator Koko Pimentel III over his alleged quarantine violation last year.
In March 2020, the Makati Medical Center (MMC) said Pimentel breached the MMC-Delivery Complex’s strict infection and containment protocols.
The hospital said the senator, “whose result for CoVID-19 testing turned out to be positive, brought his wife to the hospital for delivery via cesarean section.”
Lawyer Rico Quicho filed a complaint against Pimentel, saying the senator violated Republic Act No. 11332 and regulations of the Department of Health.
However, the prosecutors dismissed the complaints for lack of probable cause.
According to the Office of the Prosecutor General under the DOJ, Pimentel is “not a public health authority” and was thus “not obliged to report” under the mandatory reporting provision of RA 11332.
The prosecutors added “there was nothing to report” at the time he went to the Makati Medical Center and the S&R at Bonifacio Global City on March 24 and March 16 because he “only knew or learned about his condition of being positive for COVID-19 on the same day – 24 March 2020, while he was already at the premises of the hospital.”
“There is no ‘non-cooperation’ under Section 9(e) of R.A. No. 11332 as Senator Koko Pimentel was deemed to have ‘cooperated’ when he left the hospital premises immediately after receiving the information about his medical condition,” the DOJ said.
DOJ junks quarantine violation complaint vs. Koko Pimentel
Meanwhile, Quicho said in a Facebook post that the public would judge Koko Pimentel.
“Bulag, pipi at bingi ang DOJ. Taumbayan na ang huhusga,” he said.
Pimentel welcomed the Office of the Prosecutor General’s decision and described it as “unassailable and correct.”
“Tama naman ‘yan. The complaint criminally charged me for violation of NON PENAL DOH issuances which are not even addressed to me. How can something non criminal all of a sudden become criminal when you are not even expected to be knowledgeable or an expert about their contents?” he said in a message to reporters.
“The person who charged me was not even anywhere near me or the place of the incident. [Nakakapagtaka] why he became all of a sudden the source of the allegations,” Koko Pimentel added.