Jan 24, 2021 @ 17:29

Quicho calls DOJ as ‘Department of Injustice’ over dismissal of Koko’s case

Lawyer Rico Quicho has christened the Department of Justice as “Department of Injustice” for letting administration Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III off the hook in a case involving alleged violation of COVID-19 quarantine protocol last year.

“They tried to sweep it under the rug. At the end of the day, justice must always prevail and they let Koko Pimentel get away with a crime. So this is the ‘Department of Injustice.”

“How they would let go of Koko Pimentel while thousands of ordinary citizens have been languishing in jail because of breach of protocols.” Quicho, who filed the case against Pimentel, said.

Last Thursday, the DOJ junked for lack of probable cause the case filed against Pimentel for alleged violation of quarantine protocol for bringing his wife to a hospital despite showing symptoms of COVID-19

In a 19-page resolution, the DOJ dismissed the case (Section 9[e] of R.A. No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of the Public Health Concern) on the following grounds:

(1) Senator Koko Pimentel is not a public health authority (i.e. he is not the DOH, the RITM, the Epidemiology Bureau), therefore, not obliged to report under R.A. No. 11332. The mandatory reporting under R.A. No. 11332 was meant for public health authorities only;

(2) Assuming that as a private individual he was mandated to report his medical condition under R.A. No. 11332, there was nothing to report then when he went to S&R BGC on 16 March 2020 or at MMC (Makati Medical Center) hospital on 24 March 2020 for Senator Koko Pimentel only knew or learned about his condition of being positive for COVID-19 on the same day – 24 March 2020, while he was already at the premises of the hospital.

There is no “non-cooperation” under Section 9(e) of R.A. No. 11332 as Senator Koko Pimentel was deemed to have “cooperated” when he left the hospital premises immediately after receiving the information about his medical condition, and lastly;

(3) The complaint itself is fatally defective. Complainant Atty. (Rico) Quicho was not the proper party to file the instant complaint, and the pieces of evidence he presented were all hearsay as they were based only on news reports.

News reports, being hearsay evidence, cannot be relied upon as proof of the allegations in the complaint, or as proof of the truth, because they were merely learned, read or heard from others.

Pimentel was accused of violating quarantine protocols when he brought his pregnant wife to the Makati Medical Center last March despite showing symptoms for COVID-19. He later tested positive for the deadly infection but eventually recovered.

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