The House of Representatives on Wednesday recalled a committee report recommending the filing of charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and other health officials over the government’s COVID-19 response.
Party-list Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay, chairperson of the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, which conducted the inquiry, said the House should adhere to due process to allow the concerned personalities to explain.
On Wednesday, lawmakers approved the motion of Manila Rep. John Marvin “Yul Servo” Nieto to “reconsider the adoption of findings and recommendations as contained in Committee Report number 1393 on House Resolution 1711.”
The inquiry focused on the policies and guidelines of the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration for the “registration, utilization, manufacture, distribution or sale of drug products for the coronavirus disease.”
The panel earlier released Committee Report No. 1393 dated December 16, 2021, which endorsed the filing of a complaint for alleged violations of Republic Act No. 9485 or the “Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007” against Duque, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief Eric Domingo, and FDA’s Center for Drug Regulation and Research Director Joyce Cirunay.
Domingo, who has resigned from FDA, on Wednesday pointed out that the evaluation and approval of COVID-19 drug products were being done in a proper and timely manner.
The committee cited possible violation of Section 8, which ensures access to frontline services including acceptance of applications and requests, and action of concerned offices.
The committee also recommended filing a complaint against Duque and Domingo for alleged violation of Republic Act No. 6713 or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees”.
Deputy Speaker Kristine Singson-Meehan said the report “is hereby recommitted” to the good government committee.
Aglipay stressed that the House has “always followed the rule of law and in the constitution enshrined the principle of due process.”
“The resource persons remain such and cannot be respondents unless he was able to attend all hearings and defend himself,” he said.
“So, with this, the Committee will conduct further hearings or get the side of Secretary Duque since he was not able to attend those hearings. Then and only will we be able to get the full picture,” he added.