Probe alleged ‘false positive’ COVID-19 test results from PRC, Duterte tells DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) should look into the alleged “false positive” COVID-19 test results from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), President Rodrigo Duterte said in his weekly taped briefing that aired on Monday.
Duterte said this as he again lambasted Sen. Richard Gordon, who is the PRC chair and also chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee investigating alleged anomalies in the government purchase of medical supplies from Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Inc. last year.
Michael Yang, a former economic adviser of the president, is said to be one of the financiers of Pharmally, which he denied.
Duterte claimed he had information that government employees, including hospital personnel, had received false positive RT-PCR test results from Red Cross laboratories.
He noted that 44 out of 49 hospital personnel who were tested in PRC laboratories initially tested positive but turned out to be negative for the coronavirus in another molecular laboratory.
Meanwhile, 187 out of 213 members of the Presidential Security Group also tested positive for the coronavirus when they get tested in a PRC laboratory in Manila but later on tested negative in a confirmatory test.
The president did not say when the tests were administered.
According to him, personnel of the Department of Finance (DOF) also had false-positive tests — that is, 13 of its employees received positive COVID-19 test results last Feb. 10 but tested negative in confirmatory tests within 24 hours.
“The problem here, Dick, is what happens to those people accepted that your RT-PCR test on them is positive when all along they are negative because they have no money and were just following [the results]. They had to endure confinement of two weeks when all along they really tested negative,” he said in a public address on late Monday night.
“Maybe the DOH must investigate this matter. You could be putting more people at risk. You could be falsely adding to the total positive cases per day of this country,” he added.
House shifts attention
Earlier on Monday, lawmakers at the House of Representatives supposedly probing the procurement of allegedly overpriced pandemic medical supplies switched their attention to allegations that the PRC released wrong results of COVID-19 tests done on health workers.
Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta claimed of reports reaching his office which showed that 44 of 49 health workers in Subic tested positive after availing of COVID-19 tests conducted by the PRC.
Duque confirmed that the DOH and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) had started investigating the incident.
Duterte has been bent on attacking Gordon, who earned his ire for leading the probe on the alleged overpriced procurement of pandemic supplies by the government, which was prompted by a 202o audit report of the Commission on Audit flagging “deficiencies” in P67.32 billion of the DOH’s COVID-19 funds.
The president has devoted significant time during his weekly public addresses, which is sometimes held twice a week, to keep attacking the senator.
He has once accused Gordon of leading the probe because he was planning to run as vice president in the 2022 elections.
He also accused Gordon of using the PRC as his “milking cow” to fund his political plans.
Duterte has since called on the COA to conduct an audit of the Red Cross.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.