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Leachon says a mouthful about his resignation from NTF for COVID-19

By Noreen Jazul

“Why should I be sanctioned for telling the truth?”

This was Dr. Tony Leachon’s question to the government after being “forced to resign” as special adviser of the National Task Force for COVID-19.

Dr. Anthony Leachon (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Dr. Anthony Leachon (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

In an interview with CNN Philippines on Monday, Leachon said his removal from the NTF was “painful.”

“I cried actually. The night before, I was able to talk to Sec. [Carlito] Galvez and he said na during the IATF (Inter Agency Task Force) meeting, napag sabihan siya ni Sec. [Harry] Roque and Sec. [Francisco] Duque about my June 13 Twitter post na DOH [Department of Health] lost focus on the data management, risk communication, prioritization and execution of the plans,” Leachon said.

“I risked my life going to Camp Aguinaldo every day, I risked my life going to hot areas in a military plane, I risked my family’s life…Is this the price for telling the truth? Is this the price for being honest and transparent,” he asked.

Leachon also said that Galvez was “pressured” to make him resign.

“Sec. Roque and Sec. Duque pressured him na pag- resignin ako (Sec. Roque and Sec. Duque pressured him to make me resign). Sabi ko (I said) for three months…I worked 9 am to 5 pm, I sleep at 3 am in the morning crunching data, I provided the information action that led to a clear decision-making process,” Leachon said.

“For a simple problem like that, [it’s] not as huge of a sin for not revealing the real-time data, not as big as not paying millions to the healthcare workers na walang compensation (who didn’t receive compensation),” Leachon added, referring to him being vocal about lapses in the government’s efforts on COVID-19.

Leachon said other cabinet members who he worked with closely with like Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año recognized his contributions to the government’s efforts on COVID.

The medical expert said Duque and Roque, who he never worked with, should have considered his “level of work.”

‘Mediocre performance’

Leachon underscored anew the importance of telling the truth, being transparent, and straightforward in times of crisis.

The health reform advocate said that it was his job to stretch and pressure the lead agency handling the pandemic to work, especially if they are not responding to it with a sense of urgency.

“We are the only country in the world who report fresh and late cases and that is something I would say na, is a mediocre performance,” Leachon said.

“In crisis sometimes, we should not tolerate mediocrity, we should demand accountability,” he added.

‘Vindicated’

The medical expert meanwhile said he felt vindicated upon knowing that the Ombudsman has launched a probe into the alleged irregularities in DOH’s response to the COVID-19 situation.

“The questions raised by the Ombudsman basically iyon ang complain ko (was what I was complaining about),” Leachon said.

“Why should you hide the data? Iyan ang question ni (That is the question of) Ombudsman Samuel Martires.” Leachon said.

Leachon said his aggressiveness towards the government was necessary.

“What I’m asking naman is something that we need. If I show right now a certain aggressiveness in terms of following it up, it’s because we need the real-time data,” he said.

Read more: Gov’t task force’s adviser on COVID-19 resigns


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/06/18/leachon-says-a-mouthful-about-his-resignation-from-ntf-for-covid-19/)

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