Philippine Senator Koko Pimentel Image Credit: Facebook

A Philippine senator who tested positive for COVID-19 has been denounced on Wednesday for breaching strict quarantine protocols.

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III brought his wife Kathryna in on Tuesday night (March 24) to the C-section of the Makati Medical Centre, a hospital in the financial district of Manila.

Philippine coronavirus cases spiked to 636 on Wednesday, as death toll hit 38.

The Philippines reported three more deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, while 84 more people, including Senator Pimentel, tested positive for the virus, local media reported.

The Philippine Department of Health announced on Wednesday that 6 new patients have recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 26.

The Philippines reported three more deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, while 84 more people, including Senator Pimentel, tested positive for the virus, local media reported.

The hospital said Pimentel breached the strict infection and containment protocols.

“We denounce the irresponsible and reckless act of the senator. He added to the burden of a hospital trying to respond in its most competent and aggressive manner to cope with the daunting challenges of this COVID-19 outbreak,” Dr Saturnino Javier, MMC medical director, said in a statement released in the hospital’s Facebook page on Wednesday.

Pimentel has apologized for his actions, and asked for “understanding”.

Pimentel is the second Philippine Senator to test positive for the coronavirus. On March 16, Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri confirmed that he had tested positive for COVID-19.


In an interview with CNN Philippines on Wednesday night Pimentel apologized to MMC. “I am very sorry that this thing happened,” the senator said.

He also appealed for "understanding" following the social media backlash over his decision to personally take his pregnant wife to the hospital despite being under quarantine for possible COVID-19 infection.

In an interview with GMA, Pimentel said he “beg[s] for the understanding of everybody.”

On Wednedsay night, Pimentel maintained that he has been complying with the government’s quarantine measures against COVID-19 and has since refrained from “non-essential movements.”

He, however, viewed as important going with his wife Kathryna Yu, to MMC on Tuesday night as she was scheduled to give birth to their daughter on Wednesday morning.

"My wife is giving birth. To me, this is an essential movement, because she will give birth, so who else will accompany a pregnant wife besides her husband?," the Senator told local media.

‘Created another problem’

Dr Javier, however, stated on Wednesday: “By his actions, [Pimentel] contributed no solution. In fact, he created another problem — for Makati Medical Center, the very institution which embraced his wife for obstetric care.”

MMC pointed out that Pimentel exposed health care workers to possible infection with COVID-19, adding that the entire MMC-DR had to undergo decontamination and disinfection.

“As a result, a number of our nurses and doctors may need to be quarantined, which will further deplete the dwindling workforce of the hospital.”

The hospital said the healthcare workers who came close to Pimentel have been identified, evaluated — and will be quarantined. Dr Javier said the MMC-DR can now be used as it has already been disinfected and decontaminated.


Pimentel reiterated he only found out about his test result when he was already at the hospital. He said the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) called to inform him that he was COVID-19 positive around 9 pm. By that time, Kathryna was already in MMC’s examination room.

Pimentel said he left the hospital after telling his wife about his test result.

“Sabi niya, you must leave. Umalis naman po ako after explaining to my wife. Kailangan kong ipaliwanag sa kanya, siyempre medyo anxious din ‘yong tao dahil manganganak na sana the following morning,” he recalled.

(She told me, you must leave. I left after explaining to my wife. I needed to explain to her since she was anxious because she was going to give birth the next morning.)

“Even ‘yong kilos ko sa hospital, ano lang eh: Kwarto, corridor na umupo ako sa labas ng examination room, which is very good, doon lang po, walkway, at of course ‘yon pasok at labas ng hospital. So these are my only movements sa hospital,” he added.

(Even my movements in the hospital were just: room, corridor where I sat outside the examination room, which is very good, just there, I walked, and when I came in and left the hospital.)


Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Wednesday night said they will not investigate Senator Pimentel for his alleged breach of home quarantine protocol — unless it receives a complaint.

Guevarra said the DOJ would "temper" the law with compassion. "As I have said before, during abnormal times like these, when people are prone to commit mistakes or violations of the law, the DOJ will temper the rigor of the law with human compassion," said Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

"But this is not to say that the DOJ will not act upon the filing of a proper complaint by any interested party," he added.

On the other hand, Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said that "for a complaint to prosper, those who have personal knowledge of the incident should file the complaint."