Probe report on DOH's COVID-19 response out in two to three weeks' time, says Ombudsman Martires


The Office of the Ombudsman will have an initial report on its investigation on the Department of Health’s COVID-19 response in two to three weeks' time, Ombudsman Samuel Martires told lawmakers on Monday.

Martires made the announcement during the budget hearing on the Ombudsman’s proposed P3.31-billion budget for 2021 before the Senate Committee on Finance.

The Ombudsman is probing DOH on the following issues:

  • purchase of 100,000 COVID-19 test kits
  • delayed procurement of Personal Protective Equipment and other medical gears necessary for the protection of healthcare workers
  • alleged lapses and irregularities that led to the death of medical workers
  • rising number of deaths and infected medical frontliners
  • inaction in the release processing of benefits and financial assistance of “fallen” and infected medical frontliners; and

  • confusing and delayed reporting of COVID-19 related deaths and confirmed cases

“While we already have some data on some of the important matters as a result of our investigation, we hope in two to three weeks' time, we will have an initial report on the DOH,” Martires said.

Martires, however, did not say if he will make such findings public.

Likewise, Martires reiterated his previous claim that the DOH has been stonewalling Ombudsman investigators.

“They ask for extension on time to comply with the subpoenas,” he said.

In addition, Martires said Ombudsman investigators are also "finalizing their report" on Dengvaxia-related complaints.

As with the report on DOH, Martires did not say if the report on the Dengvaxia-related complaints will be made public.

The controversy over anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia started in November 2017 when Sanofi Pasteur, the manufacturer, announced that Dengvaxia is only safe for those who are sero-positive, meaning those who previously had dengue before.

Sanofi’s announcement, however, only came after more than 800,000 children were already injected with the vaccine in the Philippines. —KBK, GMA News