Malacañang said Friday it is confident the Supreme Court (SC) will junk the petition requiring the government to conduct free mass testing for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the government already has a program, months after the first case of COVID-19 in the country, on expanded testing as the Philippines ramped up its testing capacity.

“Ibabasura po iyan ng Korte Suprema, kasi sa mula’t-mula po mayroon po talaga tayong programa na targeted testing,” he said.

“Ginagawa na po iyan at talaga namang hinintay lang natin na magkaroon ng mas maraming labs, hinintay lang natin na makabili ang DBM [Department of Budget and Management] ng 10 million testing kits at tingin ko po, ito ay in addition pa doon sa mga rapid testing kits na binibili natin.”

The petitioners, with the support of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), said the “omission of proactive and efficient mass testing” during the pandemic defied every citizens’ right to health. 

Included in the petition is the request for the release of “accurate, timely, and complete information” about the current COVID-19 situation in the country. 

The petitions were led by former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, representatives from the sectors of senior citizens, medical doctors, scientists, LGBTQIAs, migrant workers, students, teachers, jeepney drivers, frontline workers, professionals and homemakers.

Earlier this week, the SC junked the petition questioning the legality and constitutionality of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act granting President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to “better” address the COVID-19 pandemic.  (RJ Espartinez)