My doctors work at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), spokesman Harry Roque said today, in an effort to quash allegations that he used his influence to get treatment while countless Filipinos are dying of COVID because they couldn’t get adequate healthcare.
Roque, the president’s spokesman, was hospitalized over the weekend for COVID, despite his earlier announcement that he had already recovered from the illness. Filipinos, many of whom have been struggling since last month to get admitted into hospitals, have accused PGH of giving Roque preferential treatment, adding that he should have waited for his turn just like other patients.
When Roque was asked yesterday by a reporter how he was able to easily get a bed in PGH, he avoided answering the question and labeled it “un-Christian.”
“I said it was un-Christian because it was insinuating that I got the [hospital] room because I got ahead of other people,” Roque said today in a media briefing as he remains confined at the hospital.
“I am at the PGH. You can’t use your influence here,” he said.
“When my doctor allowed me to be admitted, it was because the condition merited attention…All of them work here. All of the people who are taking care of me are working at the PGH,” he added.
He added that these doctors have been his physicians for a long time. The spokesman also said that he was born at the hospital and is part of an association that helps the institution. PGH is managed by the University of the Philippines, where Roque used to work as a law professor.
“I was in bad shape when I was admitted. But by Sunday, I was better because of remdesivir,” he said.
Meanwhile, Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo said today that Roque’s “un-Christian” comment was “uncalled for.” Pabillo said the question over how Roque got a bed at the PGH when scores of people are dead was “legitimate.”
“How was that ‘un-Christian?’ It was an innocent question,” the priest said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
“Public figures should be transparent when answering people. That’s the problem. When someone asks them, instead of answering, they say ad hominem answers. They attack the person who asked. That is not right,” Pabillo added.
The surge in COVID cases has become uncontrollable, and the Philippine hospital system is on the verge of collapse. There is a serious dearth of beds, manpower, and medicines, prompting some Filipinos to buy their own oxygen tanks in case they get ill. One patient in a Cavite hospital even had to be treated inside a car parked near a hospital because there were no beds available.