Discord in the Cabinet? Malacanang says no, as one is just ‘off-key’



Not all Cabinet members agree with President Rodrigo Duterte nor his loyal men, all the time.

Malacanang on Thursday made fun of its Cabinet’s miscommunication, saying that one official was just “off-key”, as the top health official made a contradictory statement that the country is now on its second wave of the coronavirus disease pandemic, while two other cabinet members denied it.

This, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque had an excuse saying that Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III did not only inform President Duterte of his view that that the Philippines was supposedly already on its second wave of COVID-19 infections.

However, when asked if there was a problem on coordination among top officials of the administration, Roque said the Duterte Cabinet is “OK” despite conflicting statements.

“Medyo sintunado lang siguro ang isa pero OK naman po ang orchestra (One is just a bit off-key but the orchestra is fine.),” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

Duque on Wednesday told senators that the Philippines was already on its second wave of COVID-19 infections, a statement that was later denied by Palace officials.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año also denied the supposed discord, saying the Cabinet is “solid” on measures in relation to addressing the pandemic.

“Everything is discussed at the IATF (inter-agency task force) meeting. Every approved resolution is supported by all members of the Cabinet,” he said.

But, a former Cabinet member earlier revealed that there really were disagreements happening in Malacanang, which caused his resignation from the top post.

Last month, Ernesto Pernia left his post as socioeconomic secretary due to “general” differences he had with other Cabinet members. His exit came as the government struggled to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ang standing ko, may mga disagreements on what I said, ’yun ang nakakapag-isip sa’kin na panahon na mag-quit muna (There were disagreements, and eventually that convinced me that it was time for me to quit.),” Pernia said last month.

Pernia was replaced by Karl Kendrick Chua, a former finance assistant secretary./Stacy Ang

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