Politicians being made to answer for their actions? Whoddathunkit.
A lawyer filed a complaint against Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel today for breaching the Department of Health’s (DOH) COVID-19 protocol by visiting a Makati City hospital when the latter was supposed to be on self-quarantine.
In case you needed a refresher, Pimentel went to Makati Medical Center (MMC) a few weeks ago with his pregnant wife, on the same night that he found out he was COVID-19 positive. MMC publicly called out the senator because he could have possibly infected its staff and patients, and even called him “reckless” and “irresponsible.” To make matters worse, Pimentel was also seen shopping at a Taguig City store days after showing symptoms.
Despite the widespread public outrage, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and PDP Laban, the senator’s political party, said they will not punish the gallivanting senator.
However, lawyer Rico Quicho, a former dean of the University of Makati, said today in a Facebook post that he has electronically filed a letter of complaint with the DOJ against Pimentel, which detailed his supposed “direct violation” of Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases Act. The law punishes the “non-cooperation” of an infected person by imprisoning him for up to six months and slapping him with a PHP50,000 (US$985) fine.
Quicho said that the complaint included a petition signed by 200,000 people who want Pimentel to be charged for his misdoing.
“We are one with the Filipino people in condemning negligent and reckless acts which expose the public, especially our health workers to unnecessary risks,” he 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 has categorically admitted his breach without remorse. And yet because of his position, he is still not being made accountable,” he said.
“We trust that DOJ will be true to its commitment to the Filipino people to uphold the rule of law without fear or favor,” Quicho added.
Last week, the National Bureau of Investigation announced that it will summon Pimentel to investigate him about the said quarantine breach. This was announced shortly after the bureau invited Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto for questioning for allegedly breaking the Bayanihan [Camaraderie] to Heal as One Act of 2020. The probe was widely criticized by netizens, many of whom said that it should have been Pimentel who should be investigated.
This article, Lawyer files complaint against Senator Pimentel for Makati City quarantine breach, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!