Dr. Anthony Leachon on Wednesday said he had left his post as special adviser to the National Task Force (NTF) on Covid-19, over “differences” with other government officials.

“I have my full respect for Sec. Charlie Galvez and we will remain as good friends. Lots of good memories. But I have to move on,” he said in a tweet.

Leachon, in an interview over CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Ngayon, said he thought he “was asked to resign.”

“Hindi nila (Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Palace spokesman Harry Roque) nagustuhan ‘yung manner that I communicate to the public as to the many lapses of the Department of Health,” he said.

Task force chief Carlito Galvez confirmed that Leachon was dismissed, saying government officials needed to work “in sync” with each other.

Leachon, a cardiologist and health reform advocate, had said the health department lacked a sense of urgency as well as transparency in communication. He also pointed to problems in Covid-19 data management.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) or Emerging Infectious Diseases “lost focus in everything,” he said.

“People are demanding for accountability from DOH (Department of Health). The IATF and NTF have been doing their best to prevent this pandemic to escalate. But we couldn’t turn a blind eye to the dropped balls. People are waiting for positive results. It’s time,” he said earlier.

The Office of the Ombudsman said on Wednesday it would probe DOH officials over their handling of the country’s Covid-19 response. Leachon said he had nothing to do with the investigation, but added the coincidence was “serendipitous.”

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.”

“He has been cautioned but remained deaf to collegial advise. Constructive criticism among colleagues is most welcome to assure improvement but this should have been done internally to maintain unity of effort,” he said.

“Although transparency to the Filipino people is our primary objective, allowing the course of the decision-making process to take place is a must in order to derive the best decision that will serve the common good,” Galvez said. PressONE.ph, John Ezekiel J. Hirro

Preview image: Tony Leachon Twitter account