MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will also summon Senator Koko Pimentel for the latter’s breach of quarantine protocol.
“I understand, yes,” NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin told reporters on Wednesday evening, April 1.
Lavin added, “I understand Senator Pimentel is also being investigated, I am not only sure when is his appearance considering that he is still under quarantine.”
Pimentel, who was on self-quarantine and who had gotten tested for coronavirus, went to the Makati Medical Center (MMC) to accompany his wife who was supposed to give birth to their child. On the day of his hospital visit, the result of his test came back to him positive.
The MMC has slammed Pimentel’s actions as “reckless and irresponsible.” A former law dean has offered his help to sue Pimentel.
NBI officer-in-charge Eric Distor on Wednesday said there is no case yet against Pimentel and that he will be invited to explain his breach of protocol.
The Department of Justice earlier said it cannot investigate Pimentel without a complaint.
On Wednesday, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that he instructed the NBI to “initiate its own factfinding” if MMC or any other party in interest does not file a complaint against Pimentel.
The NBI came under fire earlier Wednesday when it summoned Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto for supposedly violating the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, under which local government unit officials should strictly comply with the national guidelines in enforcing the enhanced community quarantine to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Sotto’s action in question was a pitch to allow tricycles to operate in his city, a plan he did not push through with after it was rejected by Malacañang. The act also happened before the Bayanihan law was enacted, violating the rule that laws cannot be applied retroactively.
As of this posting, Lavin has not responded yet which law will cover the Pimentel investigation.
But Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases Act punishes the noncooperation of “persons or entities identified as having the notifiable disease.”
Reacting to the news, Pimentel’s chief political officer and PDP-Laban executive director Ron Munsayac said it’s “reasonable and logical” for the NBI to invite the senator.
“But please let us give the man a few weeks to rest, recover, and beat the #COVID-19 virus,” he told Rappler. – with a report from Aika Rey/Rappler.com