MANILA — Palace spokesman Harry Roque said on Monday it was “un-Christian” for him to be questioned about how he secured hospital care during his second bout with COVID-19, as infections swamped facilities and forced other patients to wait in line for days.
Roque on Saturday said he was admitted to a hospital "at the right time since pneumonia was caught early on." He said that though he felt "better after only one vial of remdesivir and steroids," he would be confined until Thursday.
Asked how he secured a hospital room while some patients reportedly died while waiting for admission, Roque said, “With all due respect… I think that’s an un-Christian question.”
“Ang aking assurance lang, sa panahon ni President Duterte, lahat ng mayroong pangangailangang medikal, mabibigyan ng tulong,” he said in a press briefing.
(My only assurance is during the term of President Duterte, all those who have medical needs will be given help.)
The health department on Monday declined to comment on the alleged prioritization of Roque.
Roque did not say where he was confined in, although sources told ABS-CBN News he was seen at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
Roque first announced he tested positive for the coronavirus on March 15. He was found negative for the disease 10 days later.
It was unclear when he again contracted the virus, or whether he was suffering from further effects of his earlier illness.
The official was the fifth member of Duterte's Cabinet to contract the illness.
Roque previously underwent a heart procedure, which prompted him to withdraw his 2019 Senate bid. He has also said he was obese and diabetic.
People with health risks are more prone to developing severe symptoms of COVID-19.
The Philippines has tallied 864,868 COVID-19 cases, among the highest in Asia. Of these infections, 146,519 or 16.9 percent were active as of Sunday.