DOJ junks complaint vs Senator Koko Pimentel over alleged quarantine breach

Cites three grounds for dismissal

(Eagle News) — The Department of Justice has dismissed the complaint filed against Senator Koko Pimentel over his alleged quarantine breach in March 2020.

A statement from the DOJ said the Office of the Prosecutor General junked the complaint filed by lawyer Rico Quicho a month later on three grounds: the complaint was fatally defective, Pimentel is not a public health authority required to report medical conditions, and there was still nothing to report at the time he went to two establishments before results of his COVID-19 test showed he had indeed contracted the virus.

According to the statement, the complaint was fatally defective because Quicho was not the proper party to file it, and the pieces of evidence he presented were all hearsay as they were based only on news reports.

“News reports, being hearsay evidence, cannot be relied upon as proof of the allegations in the complaint, or as proof of the truth, because they were merely learned, read or heard from others,” the statement said.

It said Pimentel was also not obliged to report under R.A. No. 11332 as the mandatory reporting specified there was meant for public health authorities only.

Assuming that as a private individual he was mandated to report his medical condition under that law, the statement said there “was nothing to report then when he went to S&R BGC on 16 March 2020 or at (Makati Medical Center) hospital on 24 March 2020” because the senator “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.”

Besides, the statement said there was no “non-cooperation” under Section 9(e) of R.A. No. 11332 as Pimentel was deemed to have “cooperated” when he left the hospital premises immediately after receiving the information he was COVID-19-positive.

Pimentel earlier admitted he went to the hospital to accompany his then-pregnant wife, four days after he took a test to determine if he had contracted the COVID-19 virus.

He said upon learning he was COVID-19-positive, he immediately left.

The Makati Medical Center slammed Pimentel for what it said were his “irresponsible and reckless actions.”