Ombudsman zeroes in on Duque and other DOH officials over COVID-19 anomalies

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“Lapses” in the country’s health department’s COVID-19 response will be investigated comprehensively by the Office of the Ombudsman, including Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and other health officials.

Ombudsman Samuel Martires said in a statement that he has formed two more teams of investigators and ordered criminal and administrative charges filed against Department of Health (DOH) officials who had given investigators a “runaround” in an earlier probe on issues raised over the purchase of COVID-19 test kits. 

“I directed the creation of two more investigating teams who will jointly investigate alleged irregularities and anomalies committed by DOH officials and employees, including Health Sec. Francisco Duque, in relation to the response of the DOH during this pandemic,” said Martires in a statement. 

The Ombudsman had previously started its investigation in the middle of March to look into questionable DOH purchase of 100,000 test kits and issues concerning test kits developed by the University of the Philippines. 

“But our investigators were given a runaround by some DOH officials and personnel by referring us from one department or office to another,” said Martires. 

Because of this, he authorized the investigation team to “file the necessary criminal and/or administrative case” against any official “who fails or refuses” to cooperate with the Ombudsman investigation, and those who obstruct or mislead the probe. 

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