Sotto says Duque should resign, ‘spare’ Duterte from ‘trouble’
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francsico Duque III should resign and “spare” President Rodrigo Duterte from “trouble.”
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said this Friday as the health chief faces an Ombudsman investigation into alleged irregularities in the DOH’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“I’m tired of giving comments re[garding] Sec. Duque because it merely falls into deaf ears,” Sotto said in a message to reporters after he was asked if the DOH boss should take a leave of absence while the probe is ongoing. “It’s his call. He should save the President from any predicament or responsibility in his tenure.”
“Yes [he should resign]…He should spare the President from trouble,” the Senate president added in a separate message.
On Wednesday, Ombudsman Samuel Martires said he directed the creation of investigating teams “who will jointly investigate alleged irregularities and anomalies committed by DOH officials and employees, including Health Sec. Francisco Duque, in relation to the response of the DOH during this pandemic.”
On Thursday, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said it would be “best” for Duque III to take a leave of absence while the Ombudsman investigates him and DOH officials over alleged irregularities in the agency’s coronavirus response “to make the investigation impartial.”
But instead of taking a leave of absence, Senator Francis Pangilinan likewise thinks Duque should resign.
“I see the need for him to resign,” he said in a message.
This was not the first time Duque earned the ire of senators.
In April, 14 senators filed a resolution seeking the health secretary’s “immediate” resignation due to his supposed “failure of leadership, negligence, (and) lack of foresight” in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.
Responding to calls for Duque to take time off during the Ombudsman investigation, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire sees no need for the health chief to take a leave.
“Wala pa kaming nakikitang pangangailangan para siya ay magbitaw o di kaya ay magtemporarily na tumigil muna sa trabahao para bigyang daan ang imbestigasyon,” she said in an online media forum.
(We do not see any need for him to resign or even take some time off to give way for the investigation.)
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