Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Thursday said the Philippines was still in the first wave of Covid-19 infections, correcting an earlier statement by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III that the country was already in the second wave of the outbreak.

Roque said Duque’s statement was not cleared with the president based on existing protocols, but stopped short of stating that the health chief committed an error.

The first wave referred to by Duque, three imported cases from China in January, was a small wave or “wavelet,” he said.

“Ang medisina parang abogado yan, iisa batas natin, iba iba interpretasyon,” he said in a press briefing. “Hindi nagkamali, nagkaroon ng ibang interpretasyon.”

Roque told reporters he had consulted experts such as former health chief Esperanza Cabral and Dr. Minguita Padilla of the Philippine General Hospital.

Duque’s statement was based on the evaluation of an Ateneo de Manila expert, Dr. John Wong.

Roque also said the Philippines has begun flattening the curve because of the lower number of new cases reported daily.

The health department reported 279 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total to 13,221 cases.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon accused Duque of releasing inaccurate information.

“Nakakagulat. I do not know what is the point of it. It serves no purpose except to heighten the tension. It is not true. Talagang maraming pagkukulang,” Drilon said in an interview over radio DZRH on Thursday.

“The confidence of the people on the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases), and the government in general, to contain the virus is one of the factors to prevent the spread of the virus. Kung nakikita mo na mali-mali ang data at hindi nagkakasundo kung ano ang standard, talagang nawawalan ng tiwala ang taumbayan sa kakayahan ng pamahalaan na ma-containyung virus na ito,” Drilon said. (