One by one, senators and staff infected with COVID-19



Three senators have already tested positive for the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)—–Senators Migz Zubiri, Aquilino Pimentel III and Sonny Angara, while a staff member of another senator likewise tested positive.

But even as the pandemic slowly increases its toll,  Senate President Vicente Sotto III said there is no need to further disinfect Senate premises.

“We already did that (disinfection.) The three senators have not gone to the Senate since the last session day,” said Sotto.

He said the Senate building was disinfected after a resource person, who attended a March 5 Senate education committee hearing,  tested positive for the infectious disease.

The wife of the said resource speaker also died from COVID-19.

“Many have undergone rapid testing anyway. Private (testing), not government,” Sotto said, after being asked due to his exposure to Rep. Eric Yap, House appropriations committees during a meeting in Malacanang.

Yap, on Wednesday night,  admitted he was tested positive for COVID-19.

Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay, who attended the said hearing, tested negative.

The other senators decided to go on self-quarantine.

Sotto said all the other senators are very supportive and boosting the morals of the three infected senators.

On the other hand, Pimentel has apologized to the Makati Medical Center (MMC) for breaching their safety protocols on COVID-19, after  he accompanied his wife Tuesday night to the hospital for a scheduled caesarian operation 7 am on Wednesday.

In his apology, Pimentel said he never meant to harm anyone and insisted he only knew the result of his COVID-19 test while he was already inside the premises of the MMC’s delivery room complex.

“Once again, I would like to sincerely and profoundly apologize to the management and staff of the Makati Medical Center for this unfortunate incident. I never intended to do any harm to anyone,” Pimentel said in a statement.

“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,” Pimentel said.

The MMC earlier lambasted Pimentel for breaching safety protocols when the  senator went to the hospital despite already experiencing symptoms and is still awaiting the results of the COVID-19 test which he said he took on March 20.

Pimentel accompanied his wife Kathryna to MMC around 6 to 7 p.m. on March 24.

Around 9 pm of the same day, Pimentel said he got a call from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to inform him he is COVID-19 positive.

“I was already inside the hospital when I got the information. I immediately informed the OB-Gyne doctor assisting my wife about the result and I then left the hospital premises,” he said.

Pimentel also claimed he was not coughing and didn’t have a fever the short time he was in the MMC premises and was wearing face mask and gloves.

“My wife is still under the care of MMC. I asked that they take care of her and the baby still inside her tummy even when they say that I have breached their protocols,” he said.

“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 stressed.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said on Thursday afternoon he admitted that Pimentel indeed violated the quarantine protocol.

On the other hand, Senator Imee Marcos said his brother, former  Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has taken the test for COVID-19 after coming from Spain “feeling unwell.

Talks of Bongbong Marcos being intubated at a hospital in Taguig due to pneumonia persisted Wednesday evening after an alleged diagnosis was leaked.

“He came back from Spain unwell… Getting better at home,” said Marcos.

A staff of the Marcos family earlier said that Marcos has been staying at home since he arrived from Spain.

“Nasa bahay lang po (si Bongbong). Siyempre, senior na din kaya di naman naglalabas. Same with (Sen. Imee Marcos),” the staff  said.

To further disprove the former lawmaker was intubated, his wife, Lawyer Liza Araneta- Marcos issued a photo showing him sitting in his bed smiling while holding a copy of Thursday’s issue of Tribune newspaper.

The former senator’s wife also issued a statement wherein the former said he is deeply touched and overwhelmed by concern over his condition.

“Don’t worry, I am doing okay and contrary to popular belief, I am home on self-quarantine,” he said.

“As my sister said, a few days ago i was feeling a little under the weather and as a result went to get checked. We are still waiting for the results.”

Fortunately, Bongbong Marcos said he feels much better and getting stronger by the day.

“I have no doubt in my mind that this is partly due to the excellent work of the nurses and doctors who helped me during this time. I am inspired and moved by the show of courage and commitment of our health workers. You are our true heroes in these most trying times. Thank you!!”

Bongbong Marcos  also hoped and prayed for everyone’s safety and good health.

“Please don’t let the sacrifices of health workers and other frontliners go to waste. Let us all stay home. Again, thank you for your love and concern,” he said.

In another development, a staff of Senator Pia Cayetano also tested positive for the virus./Stacy Ang

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