The Department of Justice will likely start hearing the criminal complaint filed against Senator Aquilino Pimentel III over his alleged quarantine breach next month, after the Luzon-wide community quarantine ends.
Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento said the hearing will likely be held mid-May. He earlier said a subpoena will likely be sent to the senator next week.
Originally due to end midnight of April 13, the Luzon enhanced community quarantine was extended to April 30.
Lawyer Rico Quicho filed a complaint against Pimentel for an alleged violation of Republic Act No. 11332 and regulations from the Department of Health because he accompanied his wife to a hospital despite supposedly being under quarantine for a then-suspected COVID-19 infection.
The Makati Medical Center condemned Pimentel's "irresponsible and reckless action."
The senator said he learned his COVID-19 test result came back positive when he was already in the hospital and left "immediately." He has since apologized.
The criminal complaint will undergo preliminary investigation, in which prosecutors will determine whether or not there is basis to file charges against Pimentel in court.
Malcontento said Assistant State Prosecutor Wendell Bendoval will conduct the investigation.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has promised a fair investigation.
The National Bureau of Investigation has also said it will invite the senator to explain his side on the alleged violation. — Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas/RSJ, GMA News