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Koko Pimentel apologizes to Makati Med over breach of COVID-19 protocols

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Thursday apologized to the Makati Medical Center over the incident where he visited the hospital's premises despite being under quarantine for suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection.

"I apologize to MMC for being in their hospital [on] the evening of March 24, 2020 which they deemed to be a breach of their safety/containment protocols," said Pimentel, who was eventually tested positive for COVID-19, in a statement.

"I never intended to breach any protocol but I realize now that my presence in MMC unnecessarily caused additional anguish and concern to the courageous frontline health workers we all depend on. I was simply there to be with my wife during the birth of our daughter," he added.

In a separate interview on Dobol B sa News TV, MMC director Dr. Saturnino Javier said: "The apology is there for the full appreciation of the MMC workforce." 

"Pero hindi ko po mako-control ang damdamin ng lahat ng tao namin,"  he added.

The hospital earlier denounced Pimentel's breach of the infection and containment protocols.

"We denounce the irresponsible and reckless action 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," Javier said Wednesday.

"As a result, a number of our nurses and doctors may be quarantined which will further deplete the dwindling workforce of the hospital," he added.

'Still under care of MMC'

Meanwihile, Pimentel said his pregnant wife Kathryna is still under the care of the MMC.

"I ask that they take care of her and the baby still inside her tummy even when they say that I have breached their protocols," he added.

Further, Pimentel said that he took the COVID-19 test in his own accord.

"No doctor ordered my COVID testing. 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.

He also reiterated that he never exhibited persistent cough and fever.

Pimentel said he is open for communication with the  hospital management.

"I shall be open to any communication the MMC would want to have with me about this. I just ask for everyone’s understanding and compassion and allow me first to recover from COVID-19," he said.

The senator's action drew the ire of netizens on Wednesday. Pimentel, for his part, had asked for understanding— KBK/RSJ, GMA News