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Koko apologizes to Makati Med

A day after earning the ire of the public, Sen. Koko Pimentel  yesterday  apologized to the Makati Medical Center for breaching their safety protocols on the novel coronavirus disease-2019 when he chose to accompany his wife to the hospital for a scheduled delivery.

Pimentel said he never meant to harm anyone and insisted he only knew the result of his COVID-19 test while he was already inside the premises of the MMC’s delivery room complex.

“Once again, I would like to sincerely and profoundly apologize to the management and staff of the Makati Medical Center for this unfortunate incident. I never intended to do any harm to anyone,” Pimentel said.

“I shall be open to any communication the MMC would want to have with me about this. I just ask for everyone’s understanding and compassion and allow me first to recover from COVID-19,” Pimentel said.

The MMC had earlier released a statement denouncing the senator for breaching their safety protocols when he went to the hospital despite already experiencing symptoms and is still awaiting the results of the COVID-19 test which he said he took on March 20.

Pimentel accompanied his wife, Kathryna, to MMC around 6 to 7 p.m. on March 24. According to the senator, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City  called him at 9 p.m. the same day to inform him he is positive of COVID-19.

“I was already inside the hospital when I got the information. I immediately informed the OB-Gyne doctor assisting my wife about the result and I then left the hospital premises,” he said.

He also claimed he was not coughing and didn’t have a fever the short time he was in the MMC premises and was wearing face mask and gloves.

“My wife is still under the care of MMC. I ask that they take care of her and the baby still inside her tummy even when they say that I have breached their protocols,” he said.

“I never intended to breach any protocol but I realize now that my presence in MMC unnecessarily caused additional anguish and concern to the courageous frontline health workers we all depend on. I was simply there to be with my wife during the birth of our daughter,” he stressed.

He added that no doctor ordered him to take the COVID-19 testing. “It was my own initiative, as an expectant father, after learning that my other colleagues had themselves tested and out of precaution because I was living with a pregnant wife who was nearing the time of childbirth,” the lawmaker said. (Hannah L. Torregoza)

OUT GROCERY SHOPPING

Supermarket chain S&R said yesterday that Pimentel was spotted at their BGC branch on March 16, contradicting the senator’s claim that he did not violate his home quarantine prior to getting a positive COVID-19 result last Tuesday.

“It was confirmed that the senator was at S&R BGC on March 16, 2020. CCTV footage showed him checking out at Counter 13 at exactly 1:59 p.m.,” it said.  “As a result, S&R employees who were in contact with the senator were already placed in quarantine. S&R BGC also took extra disinfection steps.”

“We would like to assure S&R members that we are taking measures to maintain the safety of our members. We disinfect our stores daily and ascertain that our staff are clear prior to work. Shopping carts and handles, front-end belts, item shelves, and registers are kept clean every single day. Our employees are constantly reminded of the safety precautions regarding the virus,” it added. “To fight COVID-19, we at S&R will respond with compassion, prayer, and service.” (Czarina Nicole Ong Ki)

RESIGN PLEA

Pimentel has been urged to resign for breach of government measures against COVID-19.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, in a Twitter post, said Pimentel should first apologize to everyone he wronged.

“Apologize to the health care workers you endangered & promise to compensate them. Apologize to all health care workers. Apologize to people who won’t get medical services bec the staff you endangered now have to be quarantined. Apologize to the nation,” Hilbay said.

“Then, resign,” said the former Solicitor General.

ACTION ASSURED

The Department of Justice said it will act on any complaint which will be filed against Pimentel III for violating government measures in curbing COVID-19,  Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra assured yesterday.

Guevarra said he would not yet order the National Bureau of Investigation  to look into Pimentel’s visit at the Makati Medical Center OB-Gyne facility while he is already a person under investigation for the virus.

“During abnormal times like these, when people are prone to commit mistakes or violations of the law, the DoJ will temper the rigor of the law with human compassion,” the Secretary said.

“But this is not to say that the DoJ will not act upon the filing of a proper complaint by any interested party,” he assured.

RAPS READIED 

Charges are being readied against Pimentel for have violating his home quarantine.

Former University of Makati Law dean lawyer Rico Quicho said he, along with his law associates, law students, and friends, are drafting the complaints that will be filed against the senator.

“We cannot let such ineptitude into positions of power. We will rely on the full force of law – we are looking into criminal, civil, administrative charges. Not only to make him accountable, but also to set an example,” he told reporters.

With this, the founder of the Quicho and Angeles Law firm also asked doctors, nurses and families of patients who can become witnesses to come forward.

“We are coordinating with different medical associations, individuals, and concerned citizens and we encourage MMC to review their CCTV footage and join us in clarifying the facts of the situation and holding those responsible to account,” said Quicho, who was a former spokesman of former Vice President Jejomar Binay Sr. and late Chief Justice Renato Corona.

“We owe this not only to the other MMC patients exposed, but also to the frontliners who were put at risk,” he pointed out. (Jeffrey Damicog)

 

 

 

 

 

NO SANCTIONS

 

Ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan will neither sanction nor investigate Pimentel for his supposed violation of the COVID-19 quarantine protocol at the MMC.

 

“We will not initiate any probe on him unless may mag-raise sa party, but I don’t think so,” PDP-Laban spokesman and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said.

 

“Si Koko naman is a very straightforward person. I don’t think gagawa siya nang ganun. Tingin ko hindi niya talaga alam at that time,” added Pimentel, also a House deputy speaker.

 

“According to him, nalaman naman niya yung gabing ‘yun 9 p.m. Tuesday. He was at the hospital 7 p.m., let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Inexplain naman niya na nagpatest siya, there was no result yet. We believe him.”  (Ellson Quismorio)

 

 

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