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Privileged or foolhardy?



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SINCE last week, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III has been drawing flak from all sides for repeatedly breaking self-isolation despite exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and taking the test.

To this day, in spite of his public apology, after being tested COVID-positive, health care workers (HCWs), the public in general, and the netizens, in particular, are angry.

And social media has a funny way of showing its displeasure of Koko’s antics, giving him a constant online beating by portraying him as a poster boy of either the privileged or the foolhardy.

I have seen so many Koko memes. From being given the moniker “KoKoVid” to being pictured as “Koko the Explorer” (Dora the Explorer, an animated TV character) for roaming around the metropolis in violation of quarantine protocols.

Another meme shows a photoshopped movie poster of “Dumb and Dumber” of the senator and a city mayor. I need not elaborate.

Other netizens and media people chastise Sen. Koko for allegedly having a sense of entitlement.

Last March 14, he experienced body pains and other symptoms. Instead of going on self-quarantine, he visited the S&R Membership Shopping Club in Bonifacio Global City in the afternoon of March 16.

He developed a fever and experienced slight sore throat, body pain, and diarrhea two days later, and in the morning on March 20, he took a swab test for COVID-19.

In the evening of March 24, he again broke quarantine protocols and took his pregnant wife to the Makati Medical Center. It was there that he received a call from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, informing him that he tested positive.

These incidents occurred just as the public was already in an uproar concerning a privileged few, particularly government officials and their families, getting tested amid the lack of testing kits.

And, seemingly, to affirm the public belief of how entitled some people are, both the health and justice departments seemed to let the senator get off with just a slap on the wrist for the breach that the ordinary Juan dela Cruz can go to jail for.

Worse, he added to the burden of a hospital and a food store barely coping with the daunting challenges of the pandemic.

Koko was apologetic, but many refuse to accept his explanations. After all, he is no ordinary person. He is a sitting senator apart from being a former Senate president. Too much responsibility is expected from government officials like him.

If there is one good thing (if you can call it that) that came out of this issue, it is the coming together of both DDS and “yellows” and the apolitical mammals to bash a perceived common enemy.

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