MANILA - Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III denied Thursday that he violated self-quarantine before finding out that he was positive for COVID-19 infection, saying he had already limited his movements after the Senate adjourned.
Pimentel on Tuesday night brought his pregnant wife to the Makati Medical Center (MMC) for scheduled delivery. He said he found out about his COVID-19 positive test result 2 hours after arriving at the hospital.
Based on DOH guidelines, a person under investigation (PUI) for the virus must complete a 14-day quarantine period.
Pimentel, however, said "nobody had imposed" a quarantine on him.
"But to cooperate with the enhanced community quarantine, hindi rin naman po ako lumalabas. With or without quarantine hindi naman po ako lakwatsero. I’m a homebody. Natural po sa akin just to stay at home," he told ANC.
"There’s no real official count because when the official session ended March 11, I limited already all my movements. Parang quarantine na rin po 'yun diba? Only essential movements."
The MMC has denounced Pimentel's actions for going to the hospital's delivery complex, saying the senator exposed health workers to possible infection.
Pimentel, who said he was no longer experiencing symptoms, apologized to the hospital, saying he is open to any communication with the MMC.
"I’d like to extend my apologies to the Makati Medical Center, please tell me how I can make it up to you. Just allow me in the meantime to recover and of course please give focus on my wife and the two lives which are involved here, which are at stake," he said.
"I hope for the understanding of the public, I never meant harm to anyone. Hindi ko po talaga alam na may resulta na ako when I went to the hospital."
"I never intended to breach any protocol but I realize now, unnecessarily caused additional anguish, concern to the courageous healthcare workers who we all depend on. I was simply there to be with my wife during the birth of my daughter."
He said the COVID-19 test result of his wife might be released Thursday.
"I have requested RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) to give the result directly to the patient and of course the hospital," he said.
He added that his wife's Caesarean delivery has been "held up" but that the hospital assured an "experienced team" will handle the delivery.
"The doctors have assured me that this has been done before. One hospital was even mentioned to me as having not less than 4 babies from COVID-positive mothers," he said.