MANILA - Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday said he regrets the resignation of Dr. Tony Leachon as adviser to the National Task Force against COVID-19 and whose inputs he values.
“Nakatulong nang husto si Dr. Leachon,” he said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.
Año described Leachon as a “critical thinker” who wanted real data and real facts considered in making analysis and assessment of the COVID-19 situation. "I also value his inputs. He's very straightforward," he said.
The DILG chief said Leachon was probably not used to the rigid organization like in the government and the military. He said disagreements must be settled within the task force and that everyone must follow the agreed communication line.
"Malaya siyang nagbibigay ng kaniyang mga ano, although some are already contradicting policies or even official line of the IATF,” Año said.
On Wednesday, Leachon announced on his Twitter account that he was no longer an adviser to the government's national pandemic task force.
Leachon said he would no longer fulfill his role as adviser starting Wednesday.
A former director of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Leachon said he had "lots of good memories" but had to "move on."
In a statement, COVID-19 policy chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez said the task force has to let Leachon go because of his "preemptive releases of some information" prior to official announcement by the government.
“But I think he did that for good intention. He does not really want to malign anyone but probably he just wants to emphasize some points, and sometimes he’s very emotional so I also regret Dr. Leachon’s leaving the NTF but he has decided to resign, so be it,” said Año.
Meanwhile, Leachon’s resignation and the Ombudsman’s order to investigate officials of the health department over alleged anomalies in the agency’s COVID-19 efforts was just a coincidence.
“But the president already expressed his support to Sec [Francisco] Duque. I also express my support to Sec. Duque. Nakita ko kung gaano siya ka seryoso. Na-overwhelm lang talaga sa dami ng trabaho, ng issue, at saka itong managing this crisis is very hard,” he said.