Prosecutor-General Benedicto Malcontento on Friday said the case against Senator Aquilino Pimentel III for alleged violation of quarantine protocols is up for resolution by prosecutors after the parties completed the submission of their respective pleadings.
In a message to reporters, Malcontento confirmed that the complainant in the case, lawyer Rico Quicho, has also filed his reply to Pimentel’s counter-affidavit. In turn, the senator has also filed a rejoinder to Quicho’s reply.
“The case is now submitted for resolution (by prosecutors),” Malcontento said.
In his counter-affidavit filed through e-mail last week, Pimentel said the complaint against him “is fatally defective.”
“It is based principally on news reports. Considering (complainant) Atty. (Rico) Quicho’s lack of personal knowledge, I am being charged based on mere hearsay,” the lawmaker added, referring to the copies of online news reports attached by Quicho in his complaint.
The Department of Justice is evaluating the complaint filed by Quicho against Pimentel for alleged violation of Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act and three Department of Health issuances, namely Memorandum Circular No. 2020-0090, Advisory No. 2 and DOH Circular No. 2020-0080, concerning quarantine measures implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The case stemmed from an incident in March when the Makati Medical Center said Pimentel breached its infection and containment protocols when he went to the hospital with his wife who was to give birth through cesarean section.
The hospital said Pimentel’s visit “unduly exposed healthcare workers to possible infection” after it was found out that he tested positive for COVID-19.