MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman will investigate Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for the alleged anomalies in handling the coronavirus pandemic. Ombudsman Samuel Martitres says that his field investigators were ‘given the runaround by some DOH officials.’
Martires told reporters Wednesday, June 17, that he has created a joint investigating team to investigate the supposed irregularities — including backlogs and the delayed report on cases and deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I directed the creation of two more investigating teams who will jointly investigate alleged irregularities and anomalies committed by DOH officials and employees, including Health Sec. Francisco Duque, in relation to the response of the DOH during this pandemic.”Ombudmsan Samuel martires
According to Rappler, the issues that will be investigated motu proprio (without the need for a complaint) are:
- the delayed procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical gear necessary for the protection of healthcare workers as well as the overpriced PPE and other testing equipment which Senators have raised the alarm over.
- alleged lapses and irregularities that led to the death of medical workers and the rising number of deaths and infected medical frontliners
- inaction in the release and processing of benefits and financial assistance of “fallen” and infected medical front liners
- the confusing and delayed reporting of COVID-19 related deaths and confirmed cases
- the procurement of test kits
The Office of the Ombudsman are also currently investigating 11 complaints against local officials who were mishandling the distribution of financial aid to Filipinos under the government’s Social Amelioration Program.
Malacañang has agreed to Martitres’ decisions and respects the investigation on Secretary Francisco Duque III, President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointee to the Department of Health.