By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, June 21, agreed with Ombudsman Samuel Martires decision to investigate the Department of Health (DOH) for alleged anomalies in handling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Speaking on her weekly radio show, Robredo noted Martires’ decision to conduct a probe on DOH, particularly on the issue how public funds were spent for COVID-19 response.
“Naiintindihan ko rin iyong posisyon ni Justice Martires na sa panahon ng pandemya, pinakamahalaga iyong ma-communicate sa tao na puwede siyang magtiwala sa pamahalaan (I understand the position of Justice Martires that in a time of pandemic, the most important is to communicate to the public that they can trust the government),” she said.
Martires ordered the creation of a joint investigating team that will look into the DOH’s procurement of testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical gear for health workers.
The probe also includes the reported lapses and irregularities that led to the death of health workers, the agency’s inaction in the release and processing of financial assistance to infected and “fallen” medical workers, and the confusing and delayed reporting of COVID-19 deaths and confirmed cases.
Robredo emphasized the importance of the government communicating to the public effectively regarding its COVID-19 response efforts.
The vice president also cited former task force adviser Dr. Tony Leachon who voiced out his concerns over the transparency in communication process.
Leachon was asked to resign his post following his criticisms about the response of the Health department.
“Agree ako kay Justice Martires, agree ako kay Dr. Leachon na dapat mag-exert ng effort ang pamahalaan na ma-convey na unang-una, iyong perang ginagastos ay napupunta sa tama, na maayos iyong pagpapatakbo, kasi kung hindi, magiging magulo (I agree with Justice Martires and Dr. Leachon that the government should exert effort to convey, first of all, that funds are being spent properly, that it is being managed efficiently, because if not, things would be worse),” she said.