Jan 21, 2021 @ 15:56

Quicho: Is there a different set of rules for Koko Pimentel?

Lawyer Rico Quicho on Thursday said that the Justice Department’s dismissal of the quarantine breach case against Sen. Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III has placed on serious doubt the government’s commitment to hold violators especially the ‘high and mighty’ accountable.

In a message, Quicho, the complainant in the case against Pimentel for violation of Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of the Public Health Concern, said the DOJ resolution has sent a wrong message that “ordinary people must suffer the full extent of the law and some, while those in power get a free pass.”

“But we do ask a poignant question which, at this time, is surely shared by most: is there a different set of rules for Mr. Koko Pimentel, the powerful and the privilege, and a different set for the fish vendor, the weak, the forgotten and the “unimportant”? Quicho asked.

“We are sadly reminded of a fish vendor in Quezon City who was violently arrested for failure to comply with government regulations. He was beaten with a stick, dragged, and humiliated in public. We, however, plead not for the repetition of the inhumane treatment to a powerless individual who is merely out to earn a buck. Such exhibition of overzealousness is one too many.”

” Indeed, the unearned privilege of Senator Koko Pimentel and his kind has its perks. Enjoy it while it lasts, Mr. VIP, ” Quicho said.

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 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.set of rules for Koko Pimentel?

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