MANILA - Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana appealed on Tuesday for understanding for Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Felimon Santos Jr.'s decision to seek the help of the Chinese envoy in buying an experimental drug from China for the coronavirus disease.
Lorenzana said Santos admitted writing a letter to Chinese ambassador Huang Xilian for help in buying Carrimycin tablets from China.
The head of the Philippine military was previously diagnosed with COVID-19 but has since recovered.
"Kinausap ko na si Gen. Santos at inamin niya na talagang ginawa niya ito," Lorenzana said in a virtual press briefing.
(I already talked to Gen. Santos and he admitted that he did it.)
The defense chief, however, appealed for understanding for Santos' actions given that the latter was among those who got infected with COVID-19.
"Hindi naman siguro very improper yung ginawa nya, wala lang sa lugar, dahil dapat yung mga ganung sulat, idinadaan muna sa Department of Foreign Affairs," Lorenzana said.
(It wasn't very improper. It was just out of place because letters like those should be coursed through the Department of Foreign Affairs.)
"I-consider natin yung experience ni Gen. Santos. Siya ay na-infect ng deadly virus at yung specter ng pagkamatay ay nandiyan. He suffered anguish and distress," he added.
(Let's consider the experience of Gen. Santos. He was infected with the deadly virus and the possibility of death was there. He suffered anguish and distress.)
Lorenzana said he has decided to put the matter to rest given that Santos already explained to him the reason behind his actions.
"Wala naman siyang kasalanan na nag-violate ng regulation or imperiled our national security. Kaya we will let the matter rest na, kasi he already admitted and he explained to me the reason why he did it," the defense chief said.
(He did not violate any regulation or imperiled our national security. So we will let the matter rest already because he already admitted and he explained to me the reason why he did it.)