MANILA, Philippines – Member shopping chain S&R confirmed on Thursday, March 26, that Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III shopped at their store in BGC, Taguig City, on March 16.
“It was confirmed that the senator was at S&R BGC on March 16, 2020. CCTV footage showed him checking out at counter 13 at exactly 1:59 pm,” S&R said in a statement posted on its official Facebook page.
The shopping chain issued the statement in response to a social media post that Pimentel – who had just tested positive for the coronavirus disease – was seen at S&R-BGC on March 16, when he was supposed to be in quarantine as a person under investigation (PUI) for the coronavirus.
"As a result, S&R employees who were in contact with the senator were already placed in quarantine. S&R BGC also took extra disinfection steps," the shopping chain assured its customers.
S&R also reiterated that it is taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, from the daily disinfection of stores, checking on their employees' health, and constant sanitation of areas in the store that are possible points of contamination.
Pimentel's S&R run was hours before Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Pimentel on Wednesday, March 25, announced that he tested positive COVID-19. He said he experienced flu symptoms on March 14 – two days after 12 other senators went on self-quarantine upon learning that a guest at a Senate hearing tested positive for COVID-19. (TIMELINE: When Pimentel tested positive for coronavirus)
Pimentel, who did not immediately go into self-quarantine, opted to work from home instead. He supposedly stayed in a room separate from his pregnant wife when he started having flu symptoms on March 14, and got tested on March 20, after had a fever as well.
Under the Department of Health protocol, the senator should have gone on a 14-day self-quarantine from March 14 to March 28 as he was already considered a person under investigation (PUI).
Pimentel's trip to S&R was the second confirmed instance when the senator broke his quarantine. Even before he got the test results for his coronavirus test, he accompanied his wife Kathryna to the Makati Medical Center on March 24 because she was scheduled to give birth on March 25.
Pimentel found out that he tested positive for the highly-contagious disease while inside the hospital on Wednesday. He has since been criticized both by the medical community and regular citizens who have been in home quarantine to prevent the spread of the new virus.