Ad hominem par excellence

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    ‘The social media and nationwide television have a way of unmasking the masked intellect of our so-called leaders.’

    THE presidential spokesman, being a law professor at the University of the Philippines and expert in international law, is presumably adept at argumentation and debate. But his recent tirades, brickbats and vitriol against Dr. Anthony Leachon, a former government consultant on official COVID-19 response, reveals the bankruptcy of his logic.

    You see, during the last few weeks, Leachon has been hurling criticisms at the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) that provides leadership for the nation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Leachon, being a physician and public health expert, is presumably more knowledgeable than the presidential spox on these matters, the reason he was taken in by the Palace as consultant of the National Task Force (NTF) during the early days of fighting the epidemic. As far as we can remember, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez even praised him for his contributions to the national effort and said he was sad that Leachon had resigned or was fired. (Now Galvez reversed his position, taking Secretary Harry Roque’s side and calling the good doctor a man without word of honor.)

    The social media and nationwide television have a way of unmasking the masked intellect of our so-called leaders. Leachon, in a series of social media posts, claimed that it is not right to reopen movie theaters at this time. He pointed out that mass vaccination has yet to begin while such non-essential business activity could be a “super-spreader” of the virus.

    The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) earlier decided to allow movie houses, video arcades, and museums to reopen in areas under general community quarantine, like

    Metro Manila. However, the reopening of such leisure businesses was deferred to March 1 after Metro Manila mayors raised concern.

    “Some IATF guidelines not science based and over ruled by PRRD & rejected by MM mayors,” Leachon tweeted. “Perhaps Tuesday, better for IATF to focus on helping Sec. Galvez on the vaccination program and delegate COVID management to the LGU heads for urgent action. FOCUS is key,” he added.

    Leachon’s criticism extends to the IATF guidelines which he said have triggered a “lot of debates, divisiveness and confusion rather than inspire the people to roll with the punches and wait for the vaccines which we all need now.”

    “We also need compassion and empathy from our leaders in this crisis with words that can inspire us,” he added.

    Instead of parrying these legitimate criticisms with stronger arguments or replies, Roque chose to take the “ad hominem par excellence” road, saying Leachon is sour-graping because he wanted the position of secretary of health but failed to get it.

    Leachon has also said he has no intention of working as health secretary as he has “a higher sense of purpose and is happy to be just a “practicing clinician.”

    Roque knows his boss sports an abrasive character and sort of “pikon” which is clearly evident with the way he engaged Sen. Ping Lacson in repartee, but he does not need to ape this or even surpass his rudeness.