The Department of Justice (DOJ) revived the pending preliminary investigation against Senator Aquilino Pimentel III over his alleged quarantine breach last March.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) submitted a new complaint which resulted in the reopening of the preliminary investigation, as per order by Assistant State Prosecutor Wendell Bendoval last September 9.
The case was submitted for resolution in July.
Bendoval explained that the NBI submitted a memorandum, with a copy of the incident reports from Makati Medical Center Director Saturnino Javier, of its own investigation.
Pimentel took the spotlight on social media after he accompanied his wife to Makati Med even though he was under quarantine. According to Pimentel, he only learned that he was coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) positive at the hospital on March 25 and that he left immediately as soon as he knew of his positive result.
Lawyer Rico Quicho filed a complaint against Pimentel at the DOJ, accusing the lawmaker of violating Republic Act No. 11332 or the “Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases” and regulations of the Department of Health.
With the revival of the investigation, Bendoval mandated both Quicho and Pimentel to submit their comments to the NBI memorandum on or before September 21 regarding the Makati Med incident reports.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra promised a fair investigation.
“We assure everyone that the justice department will apply the law fairly and uniformly, regardless of the status of the respondent, with due respect at all times to the rights of the respondent,” Guevarra said. RJ Espartinez