"I can’t wait for all of this to be over."
My blood boils as I browse through the screenshots of the exchange of messages in a chat group revealing how Senator Koko Pimentel supposedly turned the delivery room and other facilities of the Makati Medical Center into his own playground, loitering everywhere even as he had already reportedly was tested positive for COVID-19.
Earlier in the morning, Pimentel issued a statement confirming he had tested positive for the deadly virus saying the results was relayed to him Tuesday night.
By mid-afternoon, reports leaked he accompanied his wife who was expected to deliver her baby anytime then, to the MMC, mingling with medical personnel at the delivery room, only for the hospital administration to discover they have a COVID-19-positive at that moment, sending the entire hospital and its staff to a state of panic.
Pimentel was quick to defend himself saying he only got hold of the result of his test stating he was COVID-19-positive while he was already in the hospital, prompting him to leave immediately. This version of the story was confirmed by a supposed statement coming from his wife.
However sources claim Pimentel already knew he was positive for the virus when he arrived at the hospital. According to the source, it was his private doctor who called MMC to inform them Pimentel is positive for the virus and had already been presented the results, which would refute his claim he was unaware he is already a carrier.
But assuming he indeed was only presented the results of his test when he was already at the MMC, why, in the first place, has he accompanied his wife to the hospital, knowing fully well he is already a person under monitoring (PUM) or even as a person under investigation (PUI)?
This is gross irresponsibility. We are running short of medical workers to attend to the growing numbers of COVID-19 patients and suspected carriers as well. We are even running short on medical gears, equipment and paraphernalia. Just how privileged he could get?
We have a law to deal with this kind of situation—RA 11332 which is about non-disclosure of medical condition, carrying with it a penalty of six months to one-year imprisonment and from P20,000 to P50,000 in fine. But I think that would be too light for this highly irresponsible act of an elected official. It’s rather unfortunate the death penalty has been abolished.
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Reading through the newly-enacted Bayanihan Heal as One Act, I came across a provision which deals with red tape, particularly on the streamlining of the accreditation of the test kits.
But to date, it seems Health Secretary Francisco Duque is holding hostage some of those seeking approval for their test kits. And that includes the laboratory the Marikina City Government had set up for COVID-19 testing.
Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro was even willing to offer a compromise saying they would willingly fund the project even if it would be the DOH which would operate the testing facility.
But Duque remains adamant, even as he himself admitted the figures of those who tested positive might only be half the actual number due to limited testing.
So, what is he waiting for? Why not expedite the approval of the Marikina City Laboratory? Why not direct the FDA to expedite the application of other test kits and that of other rapid test kits which are now being used in other countries?
Just like Pimentel, Duque is contributing to the spread of this virus.
We just can’t wait until this is over.