The doctor and lawyer also spoke of other baseless claims about the pandemic despite campaigning on a 10-point agenda to address Covid-19.

CLAIM: The country’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is headed by lawyers.


In the PiliPinas Debates 2022 conducted by the Commission on Elections last March 19, 2022, presidential candidate and physician Jose Montemayor Jr. falsely claimed the pandemic Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) was composed of lawyers.

He made the erroneous claim as he was debating with fellow presidential aspirant Sen Manny Pacquiao on proposals to abolish the body. 

Montemayor reiterated his call to abolish the IATF, claiming most of its policies have put people in misery and have worsened the economic hardships without resolving the pandemic.

Pacquiao defended the task force, saying it only needed to be guided by the needs of the country.

However, Montemayor claimed that the task force only wanted the people to bow to its policies. 

“Tandaan niyo ha, ang IATF—ang mga namumuno diyan mga abogado (Remember, the IATF is led by lawyers) but we have a health issue,” he added.

Montemayor’s claim is FALSE.

Official government websites showed that the task force is headed by the Department of Health (DOH). The chairman of the interagency body is Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, a doctor of medicine and a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas. 

Recent IATF resolutions (also found here) showed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, a retired military general, as co-chairperson of the Covid-19 policy-making body.

Aside from the DOH, other member-agencies of the IATF include the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Transportation, Department of Finance, Department of Justice, and Department of the Interior and Local Government.

Presidential candidate and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno also corrected Montemayor’s erroneous claim during the debate .

“I have to correct. With all due respect to Mr. Montemayor, I think he is not aware but the IATF is also supported by doctors, specialists, and the health sector,” he said. 


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