News Release

President Duterte: It’s not time for Duque to resign

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on September 7, 2020. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday said he still trusts Health Secretary Francisco Duque III adding it is not time for the health chief to leave his post especially as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

In his televised address, President Duterte assured Secretary Duque that he still has his trust and outmost respect.

“Secretary Duque, this is not the time for you to resign. Hindi pa panahon mag-resign. So… I have heard stories about you going to resign. I have full trust in you.”

The President said he believes Duque is untainted adding his main concern is officials being involved graft and corruption.

He told Duque to wait for the outcome of the ongoing probe on Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), whose officials are accused of misdeeds and abuses.

And if there was negligence on the part of Duque, the President said it is understandable considering the challenges faced by officials in running large organizations.

“Talagang mane-negligent ka kasi hindi mo mahabol minsan eh and sometimes nawala ‘yung papel. So these are the things that sabi ko sa iyo na — the one that really matter to me,” he said.

“What matters is ‘yung corruption. Pero kung hindi ka corrupt, wala ka namang — when you do not have any reason to resign.”

Concluding its investigation, the Senate Committee of the Whole, recommended the filing of criminal charges against Duque and several other officials in their involvement to the questionable release of billions of funds under PhilHealth’s emergency cash advance measure.

Duque served as PhilHealth’s ex-officio chairman.

Lawmakers also want President Duterte to sack Duque and appoint a new health chief who is tough on corruption.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), tasked by the President to investigate allegations of corruption in PhilHealth, is expected to submit its report next week. PND