Health Secretary Francisco Duque III will stay on as chief of the Department of Health (DOH) despite the majority of the Senate’s call for his resignation for alleged failures in the government’s response against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said on Thursday.
“The President has made a decision for Health Secretary Duque to stay put,” Medialdea said.
“Secretary Duque was made aware of the sentiments of the Senators and the President expects him to work even harder to set aside any doubts on his capacity and sincerity to serve the public during these difficult times,” he added.
Medialdea said Duterte appreciated the senators’ call which, he said, gave him a chance to assess the performance of the secretary of health.
“He also expressed his appreciation for the senators’ gesture in giving him the opportunity to weigh his options on the performance of his SOH,” Medialdea said.
Majority of the senate, including Duterte’s close allies on Thursday filed a resolution asking for Duque’s immediate resignation.
Some 14 Senators’ signatures appeared on P.S. Resolution No. 362 saying Duque must step down “for his failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight, and inefficiency in the performance of his mandate” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duque’s shortcomings resulted in “poor planning, delayed response, lack of transparency, and misguided and flip-flopping policies” for COVID-19, according to the lawmakers.
In a statement, Duque said he would continue to serve the country in his best capacity despite the senators’ call for him to resign.
“We will answer these allegations in due time but right now we will continue to be in the trenches with our health care workers and frontliners,” Duque said in a statement.
“I will continue to serve the country to the best of my abilities. Magtulungan po tayo,” he added./Stacy Ang