A LAWYER has filed a complaint against a senator for violating quarantine protocols for the coronavirus disease 2019.
Lawyer Rico Quicho said he had electronically filed the complaint against Senator Aquilino “Koko” L. Pimentel III, who later tested positive for the virus.
The senator was accused of violating a law that required him to disclose his illness when he accompanied his pregnant wife to the Makati Medical Center.
“He blatantly violated laws, which put the lives and health of frontliners and even ordinary citizens at grave risk,” Mr. Quicho said in a social media post. “He has categorically admitted his breach without remorse. And yet because of his position, he is still not being made accountable.”
Mr. Quicho said an online petition had gathered about 200,000 signatures seeking to sue Mr. Pimentel.
“With this, I hope the Department of Justice (DoJ) will swiftly act and pursue legal actions against Senator Koko Pimentel,” 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.”
Violators of the law may be fined as much as P50,000 or jailed for six months.
Mr. Pimentel tested positive for COVID-19 on March 25, saying he got the confirmation while he was at the Makati Medical Center with his wife Kathryna, who was due to deliver their child.
The hospital rebuked the senator for being reckless and irresponsible. He has apologized, saying he did not mean to harm anyone.
Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said they would schedule a preliminary investigation “without prejudice” to the probe being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation.
“The Justice department will apply the law fairly and uniformly, regardless of the status of the respondent, with due respect at all times to the rights of the respondent,” he said in a mobile-phone message.
Government investigators earlier said they would summon the senator once his quarantine period is over. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas