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Lorenzana on AFP chief’s letter for help on Chinese med: ‘Let’s put the matter to rest’

/ 01:26 PM April 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—“Let us put the matter to rest.”

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday (April 28) gave this statement in reaction to reports that Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Gen. Felimon Santos sought help from the Chinese ambassador in Manila to buy medicines that are supposed to cure COVID-19.

“I see nothing wrong,” Lorenzana said, referring to Santos’ letter to the Chinese ambassador seeking help to buy Carrimycin tablets, supposedly a cure for COVID-19 available only in China.

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Lorenzana said Santos sought help “for his friends who are infected.”

He said the AFP chief, who was once infected with coronavirus but with no symptoms, “went through the fear and anguish of being infected with a deadly virus.”

Santos on Tuesday confirmed that he had written the letter to Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian to seek help in buying five boxes of Carrimycin.

He said, however, that he had already withdrawn his request after learning that the medicine has not been approved by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The AFP chief, who had tested positive for coronavirus, said he had taken the Chinese tablets himself with the clearance of his doctors.

He told the ambassador he wanted to help his friends who are infected with the virus.

Santos’ letter has drawn flak on social media, in light of the country’s ongoing dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea, where the Philippine military plays a lead role in protecting the country’s sovereignty. But the AFP chief said he only acted on good faith.

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“I just really want to help others, hirap tumagal sa isolation…Malayo naman po siguro sa issue ng West Philippine Sea. Focus is on the pandemic,” Santos told INQUIRER.net.

Lorenzana acknowledged that the letter “may have been out of place” and should have gone through the Department of Foreign Affairs but he believed Santos did not violate “any regulations or imperiled the security of the country.”

Edited by TSB

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