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NBI: Koko Pimentel also under probe for violation of COVID-19 rules

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III is also under investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation for alleged violation of the country's recently enacted law in response to the threat of COVID-19.

Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin, the bureau spokesperson, made the remark after the NBI was reported to have asked Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto explain his alleged violation of the Bayanihan Heal as One Act.

"I understand Senator Pimentel is also being investigated," Lavin told GMA News Online.

"I am not only sure when is his appearance considering that he is still under quarantine," he added.

NBI Director Eric Distor confirmed Pimentel will also be invited to explain.

"Explain lang po no case yet," Distor said.

He said the NBI has also invited a number of barangay chairpersons to explain.

A spokesman for Pimentel said it was "reasonable and logical for the NBI to invite Sen. Koko Pimentel for questioning re possible violations of quarantine protocols."

"But please let us give the man a few weeks to rest, recover, and beat the COVID-19 virus," Ron Munsayac said.

Pimentel last week drew criticisms after he went to the Makati Medical Center to accompany his pregnant wife who was scheduled to give birth.

He had submitted samples for COVID-19 testing and was informed that he was positive for the disease while he was already at the hospital.

MMC denounced his action as reckless and irresponsible.

Sotto before the enactment of the law initially allowed tricycles in Pasig City to bring health workers to the hospitals.

He eventually decided to comply with the national directives on a ban on public transportation including tricycles.

“My instruction was, if Makati Medical Center or any other party in interest does not file any complaint, then the NBI may initiate its own fact-finding and ask Sen. Koko to explain his side,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Wednesday.

Guevarra previously told reporters to leave it up to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to determine whether or not an investigation on Pimentel by the NBI was necessary.

"The facts are unfolding by themselves. The parties directly concerned are speaking publicly about the incident. Third parties (some thirsting for blood) are bringing in information from all sources into the open,” he said last week. 

He later said the DOJ would investigate and resolve Pimentel’s case “in exactly the same way that the DOJ handles all other cases brought before it.” -NB, GMA News