Lualhati Bautista hits Koko Pimentel on MMC issue

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Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III. Image:
INQUIRER/Lyn Rillon

Award-winning Filipino novelist Lualhati Bautista took a jab at Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who tested positive for COVID-19, after he asked for prayers following the Makati Medical Center (MMC) debacle.

The senator was called out by the hospital for his irresponsibility and recklessness, breaching hospital protocol by accompanying his wife to the hospital despite him already showing symptoms of COVID-19 and thus should self-quarantine. Pimentel indeed later tested positive for COVID-19, and his action put the hospital’s already dwindling workforce at further risk, as pointed out by MMC.

Bautista — author of Philippine literary classics “Dekada ’70”, “Bata, Bata… Pa’no ka ginawa?” and “Gapô”, all acclaimed for their social relevance — is among those who therefore could not indulge the senator in his public plea for prayers for him and his wife.

“Koko Pimentel, ipagdasal mong mag-isa ang sarili mo! Hindi ka namin ipagdadasal (Koko Pimentel, you go pray for yourself alone! We are not going to pray for you)!” the author said on Facebook yesterday, March 25.

Koko Pimentel, ipagdasal mong mag-isa ang sarili mo! Hindi ka namin ipagdadasal!

Posted by Lualhati Bautista on Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Pimentel has drawn widespread flak after accounts circulated that he lingered inside the premises of the MMC even after being informed by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine via phone call of his COVID-19 test result; he was at the MMC when he received the call, instead of observing self-quarantine.

The senator denied this and claimed that he immediately left the hospital after receiving the call. Pimentel said his pregnant wife, who was supposed to give birth yesterday morning, was left alone at the MMC.

The MMC slammed the senator’s “irresponsible and reckless” actions through a statement released yesterday, saying he “added to the burden of a hospital trying to respond to its most competent and aggressive manner to cope with the daunting challenges of this COVID-19 outbreak.”

The hospital then denounced the senator’s admonition for the public to observe social distancing, the enhanced community quarantine and hygiene guides as “nothing but empty rhetoric because he himself violated all those.”

The Department of Justice said there is no investigation on Pimentel yet for breaching the quarantine. He is one of the three senators with COVID-19, with the other two being senators Sonny Angara and Juan Miguel Zubiri. JB

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