Lorenzana tests positive for COVID-19; Sotto says Senate will suspend budget hearing

Published November 17, 2021, 9:25 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has tested positive again for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a day after he physically attended the Senate plenary debates on the DND’s proposed budget for 2022.

Senators who were informed of Lorenzana testing positive for the virus told reporters said they found out about Lorenzana’s condition through the Senate Sergeant-at-arms.

“We just found out through the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms that the good Secretary of National Defense is positive,” Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri said during Wednesday’s budget deliberation.

“We were quite exposed yesterday,” Zubiri noted.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the Senate will suspend budget deliberations this weekend and will resume it on Monday, next week.

“We were informed today. To play safe we will suspend budget deliberations until all those who were exposed to him yesterday will have an RT-PCR (reverse transcription- polymerase chain reaction) test by Saturday or Sunday,” Sotto said in a text message to reporters.

“Then we resume on Monday. The Senate will be disinfected,” Sotto also said.

Lorenzana first tested positive for COVID last April 2021.

Zubiri noted that during the budget deliberations, he was seated closely with Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa as he was defending the budget of the DND together with Lorenzana.

“Let’s hope that Sen. Dela Rosa has some antibodies,” Zubiri said.

“This has implications, Mr. Presidetn, to our deliberations of the budget this week. So let’s finish the budgets that are here this evening so we can continue with the budget deliberation,” he added.