By Analou De Vera
The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday agreed that Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III breached quarantine protocols when he accompanied his wife to a hospital in Makati City.
“Kami po ay sumasang-ayon na nagkaroon ng breach sa quarantine protocol at hindi dapat nangyari ito,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a press briefing.
(We agree that there was a breach in quarantine protocol and such an incident should not have happened.)
Duque said all patients under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs) must complete their 14-day quarantine period.
“The DOH forcefully reiterates that all PUIs and PUMs must stay at home. The public’s safety relies on everyone’s discipline in abiding by our quarantine protocols to protect the public, especially our health workers and frontline from undue exposure,” Duque said in a separate statement.
The Health chief also denied reports circulating on social media that he called the Makati Medical Center to ask the institution to admit the wife of Pimentel who was due to give birth.
“Ito po ay walang katotohanan. Hindi po ako tumawag sa Makati Medical Center para po makiusap na kanilang tanggapin sa kanilang ospital ang asawa ni Sen. Koko Pimentel,” Duque said.
(There’s no truth in that. I did not call Makati Medical Center to ask them to accommodate the wife of Sen. Koko Pimentel.)
Duque said the DOH will cooperate with the concerned government agencies regarding any possible sanctions that may be undertaken over Pimentel’s quarantine violation.
“Ganap tayong makikipagtulungan sa mga aksyon na tatahakin ng mga agencies na ito,” he said.
(We will cooperate with the actions to be undertaken by these agencies.)
In a related development, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) expressed its support for Makati Medical Center’s recent statement denouncing Pimentel’s actions.
“The Philippine Medical Association is one with the doctors and nurses of the Makati Medical Center whose health, if not their lives, were placed at risk when Senator Koko Pimentel ignored the COVID-19 protocol of the hospital,” the PMA said in a statement.
“The PMA thus calls upon our government officials to please refrain from being treated as VIPs and better, please follow protocols as we are in this fight together.”