MANILA-- Public health expert Tony Leachon made government officials look like liars when he questioned the health department's reporting of coronavirus infections in the country, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Thursday, a day after the physician was let go as adviser of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
The Department of Health truthfully reports COVID-19 cases, Roque said as he urged Leachon to show proof on his insinuations that they were lying.
Leachon on Thursday said he was removed from the task force after voicing out his concern on social media that the DOH has “lost its focus in terms of their data management.”
"Kaya nga po kami nagalit dahil pinalalabas niya (Leachon) na nagsisinungaling ang lahat except siya. Hindi naman po pupwede na siya lang ang nagsasabi ng katotohanan," Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
(We got angry because he made it appear that everyone was lying except for him. It's not possible that he's the only one telling the truth.)
"You do not have the monopoly of the truth and we have never lied," Roque told Leachon.
COVID-19 policy chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez on Wednesday said the task force had to let Leachon go because of his "preemptive releases of some information" prior to official announcement by the government. Leachon was an adviser to Galvez.
Leachon has insisted that he sees nothing wrong with asking for real time data from the health department.
“Out of frustration, kasi pag hindi real-time ang nilalabas na data, lives ho ang namamatay dito… Ang sinasabi natin dapat paspasan natin ito kasi kada IATF meeting naka-anchor 'yung decision-making dun," he said.
(I did it out of frustration, because if the data being released is not real-time, lives are lost. What we’re saying is authorities need to make this urgent because the IATF’s decision making is anchored on this.)
WHAT PROMPTED LEACHON EXIT?
Leachon on Thursday claimed that Roque and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III had a hand in his removal.
Roque, however, denied this saying it was President Rodrigo Duterte's word that prompted Galvez to let Leachon go.
The President, according to Roque had asked why Leachon was questioning the government's data and actions when the physician was among its advisers.
"Hindi po ako, hindi si Secretary Duque ang nag-udyok kay Secretary Galvez to let go of him. It was the declaration of the President himself," Roque said.
(It's not me or Secretary Galvez who pushed Secretary Galvez to let go of him.)
"Mismong Presidente po noted that you should not be doing what you were doing," he added.
(The President himself noted that you should not be doing what you were doing.)