Lower House recalls adoption of committee recommendations to charge Duque, Domingo

Published January 26, 2022, 6:23 PM

by Ben Rosario

A day after adopting a committee report proposing to recommend administrative charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque and two Food and Drug Administration officials, the House of Representatives recalled the plenary action on Wednesday, Jan. 26.

Upon the motion to recall the adoption of the committee report, Asst. Majority Leader and Manila Rep. Yul Servo moved to recommit Committee Report No. 1393 to the Committee on Good Government that prepared and submitted it.

Committee chairman and DIWA Partylist Rep. Michael Aglipay said they decided to recall the committee report to extend to Duque his right to due process.

Aglipay said this act was in consonance with the rule of law and the principle of due process enshrined in the Constitution.

He said Duque has not attended the committee hearings thus was unable to defend himself.

“The resource persons remain such and cannot be respondents unless he was able to attend all hearings and defend himself,” explained Aglipay.

“So with this, the committee will conduct further hearings or get the side of Secretary Duque since he was not able to attend those hearings. Then and only then we will be able to get the full picture,” the partylist lawmaker stated.

On Tuesday, the Lower House adopted CR 1393 which contained the committee recommendation for the filing of administrative charges against Duque, former FDA Director General Eric Domingo and Director Joyce Cunanay of the Center for Drug Regulationiand Research.

The recommendation was made after the good government panel conducted a congressional inquiry into the DOH and FDA policies and guidelines for the “registration, utilization, manufacture or sale of drug products for the coronavirus disease.” The House panel examined whether or not the said policies and guidelines were detrimental to public interest as directed under Resolution No. 1711.

“The resolution cited issuances of the DOH and FDA as having been questioned for being arbitrary, bureaucratic and inhumane for causing unnecessary delays int he approval and clearance of drugs and therapeutics for emergency use authorization or for use of drugs under compassionate special permit for COVID-19,” the committee report stated.

The House panel resolved to issues raised during the hearing which were the possible liability of DOH and FDA for issuing contradictory guidlines and directives and for relying solely on a panel of experts comprised of a handful medical professionals .

The good government committee also determined whether or not the FDA had indeed failed to implement measures to streamline its processes thus resulting in registration backlog and violation of Republic Act No. 11032 or the so called Anti-Red Tape Act.

Aglipay’s committee found that Duque and Domingo have violated Section 4 of Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees”.

The lawmakers also recommended the filing of charges against Duque, Domingo and Cirunay for violation of RA 11032. or ARTA.

The committee said the three officials have failed to “render government services such as approval of applications for automatic renewal within the prescribed time.” The said issue refers to the backlog of license applications, especially those meeting conditions for renewals” for License to Operate and issuance of Certificate of Product Registration of drug companies pending before the CDRR.