The Department of Justice has submitted for resolution the breach of protocol complaint filed against Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel lll.
“Yung kay Sen. Pimentel submitted for resolution as of yesterday (Wednesday). I’m submitting it to OPG [Office of Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento] but I don’t know if he can sign it, he is out today,” Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon said Thursday.
Fadullon added that he is still awaiting the report of Assistant State Prosecutor Wendell Bendoval about the matter but he has already told him to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
DOJ reopened the investigation on the breach of quarantine protocol filed against Pimentel after receiving a report from the hospital the lawmaker visited in March while awaiting his COVID-19 test result.
The reopening of the criminal investigation was done after the National Bureau of Investigation received a copy of the incident report from Makati Medical Center Medical Director Dr. Saturnino Javier.
“In view of the foregoing and in line with the policy of admitting all evidence that could assist in the judicious resolution of complaint, the preliminary investigation of this case is hereby reopened,” Assistant State Prosecutor Bendoval wrote.
Pimentel visited the hospital in March to accompany his pregnant wife even though he was already showing symptoms of COVID-19. He later tested positive for the highly-contagious virus, drawing outrage from the public for endangering patients and hospital personnel during his visit.
The senator was castigated by the hospital management for violating home quarantine rules, calling his action “reckless and unacceptable.”
Pimentel and the complainant, former dean of the University of Makati Rico Quicho, were then asked to submit their replies on MMC’s report by 21 September.
Legal experts previously said the senator may be fined up to ₱50,000 or face a jail term of one to six months for failing to disclose that he was suspected of having COVID-19 at the time.
For violating the enhanced community quarantine, he can be fined between ₱10,000 and ₱50,000 or jailed for up to a year.
Pimentel earlier apologized for accompanying his wife to the hospital, but said the trip was “essential” as she was about to give birth. He also said he only learned about his positive COVID-19 test when he was already in the hospital.