Duterte will not fire Duque — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will not fire Health Secretary Francisco Duque III despite corruption allegations and the conflict of interest issue being hurled against him.
“No. There should be evidence to support the corruption charge,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a text message on Wednesday.
Panelo earlier told reporters that Duterte still trusts Duque despite allegations of conflict of interest against the health chief due to his family’s dealings with government.
An Inquirer report earlier bared that Duque’s family bagged government contracts to supply medicine in public hospitals and also entered into a leasing agreement with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) office in Pangasinan.
Duque, and his brother Gonzalo who was, earlier appointed by Duterte as Philippine Coconut Authority administrator, are facing graft and plunder complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Duque is accused of committing plunder for allowing the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) office in Pangasinan to rent a property belonging to his family.
The health chief is ex-officio chair of PhilHealth being the secretary of the health department.
Asked if he would resign over the controversies hounding him, Duque said in a text message: “No there is no truth to that.”
Panelo said in a radio dzRH interview on Wednesday that the President will not even ask Duque to take a leave of absence from office.
Despite the controversies, Duterte has been silent over the corruption allegations against Duque despite repeatedly saying in his speeches that he would fire officials even with just a “whiff of corruption.” /muf
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