MANILA — At least five former health secretaries, the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), and various medical groups are calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to stop blocking the Senate's investigation into alleged anomalies in the government's purchase of COVID-19 supplies.
The former officials and groups have signed a statement that urged the chief executive to not "obstruct testimony of material witnesses to any investigation" into alleged anomalies in the procurement of medical supplies.
The signatories also asked government officials to "support the call for truth," and the Department of Justice and Ombudsman to "conduct an immediate impartial and thorough investigation of the case."
"Nakakasakit ito ng aming damdamin. May mga taong nagsamantala ng sitwasyon ng pandemic," said PCP President Dr. Maricar Limpin.
(This really hurts us. There are people who are taking advantage of the pandemic situation.)
"Hindi lang kami (health workers) biktima kundi maging ang mga mamamayan Pilipino na nagkakasakit," she added.
(We are not the only victims. The Filipinos who get sick are victims as well.)
The signatories include former Department of Health chiefs Esperanza Cabral, Manuel Dayrit, Enrique Ona, and Carmencita Reodica.
In a Twitter post, former PCP President Dr. Tony Leachon said former Health secretary Paulyn Ubial also signed the statement.
The statement from health leaders and groups is the latest in a growing chorus of voices opposing Duterte's recent memorandum, which barred his Cabinet secretaries from attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's investigation into the alleged misuse of pandemic funds.
Duterte earlier said he was not opposed to the investigation but disapproved of how the inquiries have interfered with the work of Cabinet members required to attend, including those related to the pandemic response.
— Report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News