Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III. (File photo)

MANILA – Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has formally refuted the charges against him before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for alleged violation of quarantine protocols.

In his counter-affidavit filed through e-mail on Wednesday, Pimentel said the complaint against him "is fatally defective."

"It is based principally on news reports. Considering (complainant) Atty. (Rico) Quicho's lack of personal knowledge, I am being charged based on mere hearsay," Pimentel added, referring to the copies of online news reports attached by Quicho in his complaint.

The DOJ is evaluating the complaint filed by Quicho against Pimentel for alleged violation of Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act and three Department of Health issuances -- Memorandum Circular No. 2020-0090, Advisory No. 2 and DOH Circular No. 2020-0080, concerning quarantine measures implemented due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

This stemmed from an incident in March when the Makati Medical Center said Pimentel breached its infection and containment protocols when he went to the hospital with his wife who was to give birth through cesarean section.

The hospital said Pimentel's visit "unduly exposed healthcare workers to possible infection" after it was found out that he tested positive for Covid-19.

Quicho was given five days to reply to Pimentel and then for Pimentel to file his rejoinder.

State prosecutors earlier gave Pimentel until July 15 to answer the charges.

Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento earlier said the case would be considered submitted for decision by prosecutors whether to drop or file the case unless the parties file a reply and rejoinder, he added. (PNA)