Dr. Leachon is sour-graping — Roque

Published February 16, 2021, 5:44 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Former government adviser Anthony Leachon is merely “sour-graping” after he was unable to clinch the post of Secretary of Department of Health, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the stinging rebuke of Leachon after junking his reported call to abolish the inter-agency task force over its controversial decision to reopen movie theaters.

“Sir, the President has addressed your views. You’re sour-graping because he did not appoint you as Secretary of Health. Pasensiyahan na lang po (Just grin and bear it),” Roque said during a televised press briefing in Davao City.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. also criticized Leachon for allegedly failing to do his job well at the National Task Force (NTF) battling the pandemic. The retired military general also claimed that the local doctor lacked word of honor.

“Ang advice ko lang kay Dr. Leachon, hindi mo pinagbuti ang trabaho mo sa NTF at saka nakita natin na mayroon kang ulterior motive aside from serving our people kaya tinanggal po namin kayo. (My advice to Dr. Leachon, you did not do your job well at the NTF and we saw you had an ulterior motive aside from serving our people so we removed you),” he said.

“So iyon pa lang nakita natin na si Dr. Leachon po talagang wala pong word of honor iyan, talagang ang hirap makasama (That’s what we saw in Dr. Leachon. He really had no word of honor. He’s difficult to be with),” he said.

Leachon earlier called for the postponement of the reopening of movie theaters to prevent the spread of the illness amid the country’s rising coronavirus infections. He said vaccination has yet to begin while such non-essential business activity could be a “super-spreader” of the virus. 

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) earlier decided to allow movie theaters, video arcades, museums, and other limited tourist attractions to reopen in areas under general community quarantine such as Metro Manila. The reopening of such leisure businesses has been deferred until March 1 after some Metro Manila mayors raised concern about the matter.

“It’s the point of relevance – some IATF guidelines not science based and over ruled by PRRD & rejected by MM mayors,” Leachon tweeted Tuesday, Feb. 16.

“Perhaps better for IATF to focus on helping sec. galvez on the vaccination program and delegate COVID management to the LGU heads for urgent action. FOCUS is key,” he added.

He said the IATF guidelines have triggered a “lot of debates” and “divisiveness and confusion rather than inspire the people to roll with the punches and wait for the vaccines which we all need now.” “We also need compassion and empathy from our leaders in this crisis with words that can inspire us,” he said.

Leachon also clarified that he has no intention of working as health secretary, saying he has “a higher sense of purpose.” “I’m happy where I am as a practicing clinician,” he tweeted.

Leachon briefly served as special adviser of the government task force in charge of addressing the pandemic. He was removed from his post last July following a disagreement with the health department’s efforts to address the medical emergency.