MANILA — Two officials on Tuesday rejected a former government adviser’s call to abolish the inter-agency task force leading the country’s pandemic response over a recent decision.
Dr. Anthony Leachon called for the IATF’s abolition after its recent go signal for the reopening of cinemas. The body has “a bottleneck area for decisions not based on science,” he said in an interview.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque told reporters Leachon was “sourgraping” supposedly because President Rodrigo Duterte did not appoint him as secretary of health.
“Sir, the President has addressed your views, you're sourgraping because he did not appoint you as Secretary of Health. Pasensyahan na lang po,” said Roque.
“Hindi mo pinagbuti ang trabaho mo sa IATF at ang nakita natin, meron kang ulterior motive aside from serving our people kaya tinanggal ho namin kayo,” Galvez said in the same press conference.
(You did not do well in your job in the IATF and we saw that you have an ulterior motive aside from serving our people, that’s why we removed you.)
Leachon said he had “no intention” to work as secretary of health.
“I have a higher sense of purpose. I’m happy where I am as a practicing clinician,” he said on Twitter.
The doctor noted that some IATF guidelines had been overruled by Duterte or rejected by mayors in Metro Manila.
The IATF recently allowed the reopening or expansion of some businesses like cinemas, museums and game arcades in areas under general community quarantine like the National Capital Region.
However, Metro Manila mayors opposed the opening of cinemas, prompting its deferment to March.
Roque earlier said President Duterte's televised weekly speeches were edited to remove repeated curses against former adviser Dr. Tony Leachon. This, after Leachon questioned the government's preference for China-made vaccines like Sinovac Biotech despite questions on the drug's efficacy and past allegations of bribery.