Martires slams DOH exec: Don’t use probe to cover up your incompetence
MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Samuel Martires has warned the Department of Health (DOH) against using the rigors of their investigation to cover-up their incompetencies.
This after a health official supposedly said that the Ombudsman probe on alleged irregularities in DOH’s COVID-19 response would get in the way of the agency’s work in this time of a pandemic.
Martires on Thursday said that he hopes the department would not make an excuse out of their requirements, like possible subpoena of persons and documents, to hide their shortcomings towards health workers at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.
“Ang hindi ko lang gusto ‘yong sinasabi ng isang opisyal ng Department of Health na baka itong pag-iimbestiga namin ay maka-apekto sa kanilang gawain dito sa trabaho nila,” he said in an interview with Teleradyo.
(What I didn’t like is the remarks of a DOH official, who said that our investigation might have an effect on their work against COVID-19.)
“Aba, ‘wag naman sana nilang gamitin na rason ‘di ba […] binabalaan ko sila, ‘wag na ‘wag silang magkakamali na gawin ang Ombudsman na sangkalan sa anumang pagkukulang nila sa medical frontliners,” he added.
(I hope they do not use that as a reason. I am warning them, do not attempt to use the Ombudsman as a scapegoat for whatever shortcoming they owe to medical frontliners.)
Martires instead advised the DOH official, which he did not name, to relegate their work to subordinates instead of merely dismissing the investigation as a nuisance. He also asked whether the Office of the Ombudsman should suspend their probe, even if there are concerns over DOH’s COVID-19 response.
“Kasi kung sasabihin nila na ‘ay hindi namin na-deliver ‘yon kasi itong Ombudsman hingi nang hingi ng mga papeles eh’. That statement alone is an admission na ‘yong mga taong below this official who said that ay mga incompetent. Kasi pwede mo namang utusan ‘yong mga opisyal mo eh,” he noted.
(Because if they would say that ‘we were not able to deliver our tasks because the Ombudsman has been asking for so many papers’, it is an admission that the people below this official who said that are incompetent. Because you can ask your subordinates to do it for you.)
“Napakinggan ko sa interview eh, ang sabi niya baka maka-abala. Ang ibig ba niyang sabihin ay dapat itigil namin ang aming imbestigasyon para hindi kami maka-abala sa ginagawa nila ngayon? he added.
(I heard the interview, what the official said was it might be a hindrance. Do they intend to say that we should stop our investigation so that we cannot interrupt their line of work?)
These remarks from the Ombudsman came after he announced Wednesday that they would be investigating DOH over delays on their procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, which may have led to the high infection rates and deaths among health workers.
As of June 2, 2,669 of the 27,799 COVID-19 patients are health workers, 32 of which have died while 1,438 have recovered.
While the DOH official concerned was not named, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier gave comments on the Ombudsman probe, saying that it is expected to have a toll on their personnel’s morale.
“Yesterday, when this came out talagang nagulat kaming lahat [when this came out we were really surprised] that you know it reached this point that we are being investigated for these things,” Vergeire told CNN Philippines’ The Source.
For Maritres’ part, this official should just shut up and cooperate.
“I just hope this official will just cooperate, shut up your mouth, and just cooperate in the investigation,” he noted.
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