MANILA — The Department of Health has denounced the slay of a doctor, as it vowed to seek justice for the National Center for Mental Health chief who was shot dead Monday.
“The Department of Health is shocked and alarmed at the news of the ambush of National Center for Mental Health Medical Chief Dr. Roland L. Cortez, and his driver, Ernesto Dela Cruz that occurred this morning 27 July 2020,” the DOH said in a statement.
“The DOH family extends its deepest condolences to the families of Dr. Roland and Mr. Ernesto, and vows to pursue justice for their untimely deaths,” it said.
The Department also said it was denouncing all violent acts against health workers, especially “during these difficult times."
The Department said it was also coordinating with the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit “to ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Cortez, whom DOH said was a respected leader who treated his clients well, was ambushed by still unidentified assailants.
A police report said Cortez and his driver were in Tandang Sora Avenue when they were shot dead.
Cortez and the NCMH drew criticism in April after they were accused of covering up COVID-19 cases inside the institution.
He said last month that all of the employees with COVID-19 have already recovered and that there were zero active cases.
The NCMH is a special research training center and hospital licensed by the Department of Health and accredited by PhilHealth. It has an authorized bed capacity of 4,200 inpatients and served an average of 56,000 outpatients per year.