Limpin calls for Roque’s removal from office

'TAO LAMANG'--Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque explains the reason for his outburst during a virtual press briefing Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 (Screenshot from Facebook live)

Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) President Dr. Maricar Limpin said that President Duterte should “remove” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque from his post.

Limpin made the statement amid the leaked video circulating on social media platforms that shows Roque losing his cool against medical frontliners.

“Personally and I hope that he does not or will not say that I’m being political when I say this because definitely, I have no politics.....I can only speak my mind out. As far as I’m concerned, the President should actually remove him from office. Palitan na niya (Replace him already) because he is not doing service to our President,” said Limpin in an interview with reporters on Friday, Sept. 10.

“It is not an action that is expected from a government official. Secretary Roque has to realize that as a spokesperson of the President, then he is basically representing the President. Therefore, any actions he makes---- it is reflective of the President,” she emphasized.

Roque’s behavior during the Interagency Task Force’s (IATF) meeting last Tuesday, Sept. 7 was “uncalled for,” said Limpin.

“Of course, I was surprised with the reaction. I think that reaction is uncalled for, it is not expected and should not be a reaction by a government official,” said Limpin.

Limpin noted that she and Dr. Antonio Dans of the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) attended the IATF meeting.

The Malacanang spokesperson should not only apologize to her but instead to the whole healthcare sector.

“We were there as representatives of the healthcare workforce. And therefore if he has to apologize, he has to apologize to the whole of the healthcare workforce, hindi sa amin lang. Yung ginawa niya (not just to us. His action) is against all of us in the healthcare sector,” said Limpin.

Just stating the facts

Limpin recounted that during the IATF meeting, they asked the government to reconsider their plan of shifting Metro Manila to general community quarantine (GCQ) and instead place it under the strictest quarantine classification for two weeks due to the rising number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

“What we did was just really appeal to the IATF to reconsider yung planned GCQ and we said that at this point in time it may not be the appropriate time to relax the community quarantine measures. In fact, what we were requesting is really to place the NCR under the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine),” narrated Limpin.

The PCP head said they raised the “facts” that the healthcare system in Metro Manila was already “overwhelmed” and there is already a shortage of medicine supply due to the high volume of patients.

“Many of the patients---they even die while looking for hospitals that can admit patients. Plus the fact that may mga hospitals na nagkukulang na ng facilities (there are hospitals that are already lacking facilities), which include respirators, oxygen, and even medicines. Sabi namin, with this kind of masyado ng overwhelmed---at this particular point in time, pag nilgay nila sa GCQ, mas lalo lang dumami at baka mag collapse na ang healthcare system. Ayun lang ang sinabi namin (We said that with this kind of situation --- at this particular point in time, when they implement GCQ, will only increase and the healthcare system may collapse. That's all we said),” she said.

Limpin said that she was just presenting facts during the meeting.

“I’m just stating the fact na talagang tumataas ang kaso. So, anong magagawa ko? Hindi naman ako ang dahilan ng pagtaas (I’m just stating the fact that the number of cases is really on the rise. So, what can I do? I am not the reason for the increase). Most likely, if the number of COVID-19 cases is rising, then there is something wrong with what we are doing,” she said.

“All that needs to do now is really go back and try to look, assess---ano sa mga strategies natin ang tama at hindi (which of our strategies are right and wrong)----so we can actually do something and end up victorious sa laban na ito (in this fight),” she added.

“I think it is a matter of accepting the reality na since tumataas, meron tayong hindi tama na ginagawa (I think it is a matter of accepting the reality that since (cases are) rising, we have been doing something wrong),” she furthered.

Limpin said that the two-week ECQ that they are requesting is for the government to re-strategize its response against the pandemic.

“The two weeks might be able to help us reduce the number of cases and then also it will also be able to give us a chance to re-strategize again---take a look at what we were doing that is right and what are the things we are doing that are not right. Kung meron hindi tama, then pwede natin i-correct (If something is wrong, then we can correct it),” she said.