March 26, 2020
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Thursday that Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has breached the quarantine protocol when he went to Makati Medical Center with his pregnant wife despite being a person under monitoring.
This as Duque denied that he called up the MMC and asked that Pimentel's wife be accommodated in the hospital.
"We agree that there was a breach of quarantine protocol and this should not have happened," Duque said in a press conference.
He said the DOH will cooperate in any action that the concerned government agencies would take against Pimentel, who was confirmed to be positive for COVID-19 on the night of March 24, the moment that he brought his wife to MMC.
"We will follow the steps to be taken by the lead agencies tasked to maintain peace and order, including the handling of the violations of the quarantine protocol," he said.
MMC has accused Pimentel of breaching the health protocols by going to the hospital despite being a PUM.
Duque also said that the DOH has not been giving any "VIP treatment" in testing for COVID-19.
He reminded the different laboratories to follow the first in-first out policy in processing the specimens.
"We are also fast-tracking the expansion of our testing centers to address the backlog at the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) and discharge the non-COVID-19 patients as soon as possible," he said.
As to posts that circulated on social media platforms that he facilitated the admission of Pimentel's wife at MMC, Duque said, "this was not true. I did not call up MMC to ask that the wife of Senator Pimentel be admitted there."
He urged all the persons under investigation and PUMs to remain in their house to ensure the success of the enhanced community quarantine and to bring down the COVID-19 cases in the country. Celerina Monte/DMS
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