Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Thursday said he regretted the removal of Dr. Anthony Leachon as special adviser to the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19.

“I regret that Dr. Leachon is leaving the NTF, but he has decided to resign, so be it. But we will still remain friends. I, for one, will get his input from time to time,” he added,” Año said in an ANC interview.

Leachon announced on June 17 that he was no longer the NTF’s special adviser, citing differences with other government officials.

“I think he [resigned with] good intention. He does not want to malign anyone. He wants to emphasize some reports, sometimes he is very emotional,” Año said.

Año, vice chairman of NTF, said Leachon was a “big help” as a special adviser.

Leachon had been vocal in his disappointment over the health department’s “lack of urgency and transparency” and how the IATF had “lost focus in everything” in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said it was Palace spokesman Harry Roque and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who worked for his removal, but Roque denied the allegation, saying Leachon was “giving him too much credit.”

Roque added that it was NTF chief Carlito Galvez who asked for Leachon’s resignation after his comments criticizing the government’s Covid-19 response displeased President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a tweet announcing his resignation, Leachon said he and Galvez would remain “good friends.”

Galvez, in a statement, said Leachon’s “preemptive releases of some information prior to official announcement and adaption jeopardized the communication efforts of the IATF and NTF and caused unwarranted misunderstanding between two entities that should be working together.” John Ezekiel J. Hirro