Duque says Pimentel violated quarantine protocols

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 26 2020 05:12 PM | Updated as of Mar 26 2020 05:22 PM

HEALTH SECRETARY DENIES CALLING MAKATI MEDICAL CENTER

MANILA — Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel violated quarantine protocols when he accompanied his wife to the hospital, the health secretary said Thursday, as he insisted the government does not give out VIP testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

“Gusto ko rin pong ihayag ang stand ng DOH ukol sa pagpunta ni Senator Pimentel sa Makati Medical Center kahit na siya ay isang PUM (person under monitoring). Kami po ay sumasang-ayon na nagkaroon ng breach sa quarantine protocol at hindi dapat nangyari ito,” said Francisco Duque III during a televised briefing.

(The DOH's stand is, this should not have happened. There was a breach in the quarantine protocol.)

He said the DOH will follow the lead agencies that are assigned to handle violations on the quarantine protocol.

“Ganap tayong makikipagtulungan sa mga aksyon na tatahakin ng mga agencies na ito,” he said.

It could be recalled that on March 11, Senate President Vicente Sotto III ordered a lockdown at the Senate, following a confirmation that one of its resource persons on a March 5 hearing tested positive for COVID-19. Most Senators, including Pimentel, self-quarantined. On March 14, Pimentel had symptoms. By March 18, he had a fever, and took the test two days later. 

Pimentel had not completed the 14-day quarantine set by the DOH when he went to the hospital. 

Duque meanwhile denied rumors that he pulled strings to allow the admission of Pimentel’s wife at the Makati Medical Center, which said on Tuesday that it was already unable to take in more patients due to overcapacity. 

“Ito po ay walang katotohanan. Hindi po ako tumawag sa Makati Medical Center para makiusap na kanilang tanggapin sa kanilang ospital ang asawa ni Senator Pimentel," said Duque.

(There is no truth to those reports. I did not call Makati Medical Center to ask for a room for Senator Pimentel's wife.)

Duque also reiterated that the DOH does not give VIP treatment for COVID-19 testing. 

There are now a total of 707 COVID-19 cases in the country. 

The Philippine government has imposed an enhanced community quarantine on Luzon, suspending public transportation and other services in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.