The Philippine Medical Association (PMA), country’s top association of medical practitioners, on Thursday backed Makati Medical Center’s condemnation of Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III’s breach of hospital protocol and told other politicians to stop acting like VIPs during a pandemic.

Pimentel on Thursday apologized to the Makati Medical Center but justified his decision to accompany his pregnant wife for a scheduled C-section on the night of March 24, during which he was informed that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

READ: Koko Pimentel tests positive for Covid-19, becomes the face of privilege

“The Philippine Medical Association is one with the doctors and nurses of the Makati Medical Center whose health, if not their lives, were placed at risk when Senator Koko Pimentel ignored the Covid-19 protocol of the hospital,” said a statement signed by PMA President Dr. Jose Santiago Jr. and Secretary General Dr. Ricardo Batac.

“We understand how the good senator felt for his pregnant wife during that time, however, knowing him as a person of his stature, he should have placed above all the well-being of the health workforce who are already working so hard to help curb the problem of the Covid-19 menace,” the PMA said.

It pointed out that the number of frontline doctors and nurses was dwindling “and we could not afford more of this happen.”

“The PMA thus calls upon our government officials to please refrain from being treated as VIP’s and better, please follow protocols as we are all in this fight together,” it said.

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Pimentel claimed he immediately informed his wife’s obstetrician-gynecologist of his positive test, which he said was relayed to him by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine at about 9 p.m. on March 24, some three hours after he and his wife Kathryna arrived at the hospital.

He said he was wearing a face mask and gloves and left the Makati hospital after learning he was Covid-19-positive.

The pro-administration lawmaker also revealed that no doctor ordered his Covid-19 test. “it was my own initiative, as an expectant father, after learning that my other colleagues had themselves tested and out of precaution because I was living with a pregnant wife who was nearing the time of childbirth,” he said.

“Never did I have persistent cough and persistent fever,” he added.

Pimentel asked the public for “understanding and compassion and allow me first to recover from Covid-19.” (