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Duque didn’t import COVID-19 but failed miserably to curb its spread – Lacson

/ 08:54 AM August 03, 2020
Lacson relentless vs Duque, bares another contract with DOH

Sen. Panfilo Lacson (left) stressed that while Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (right) did not import COVID-19, he miserably failed to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

MANILA, Philippines – While Health Secretary Francisco Duque III did not import coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to the Philippines, he “miserably failed” to stop the spread of the virus, Senator Panfilo Lacson pointed  out after President Rodrigo Duterte continued to defend the health secretary’s handling of the pandemic.

“The [COVID-19] importers are the virus-infected couple from Wuhan, China who spread the virus in Manila because your Secretary Duque miserably failed to do a simple contact tracing,” the senator said in a tweet on Monday.

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“I couldn’t  understand what ‘amulet’ or magic potion Duque has as far as the President is concerned,” Lacson said in a separate statement.

He added that Duque’s “failure” to conduct contact tracing on the co-passengers who took the same flight as the Chinese couple and his “refusal to assume responsibility by blaming other agencies” was the health chief’s “first major offense in a series of devastating blunders.”

In taped address aired late Sunday night, Duterte rejected calls for him to fire Duque.

“Secretary Duque, they want your neck. Then I said: ‘Okay, you want me to fire Duque?’ Let me be satisfied. What was his sin? He did not import COVID,” the President had said.

In April, several senators, including Lacson, urged Duque to step down for alleged “failure of leadership, negligence, (and) lack of foresight” in addressing the pandemic.

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“It is not only me who disagrees with the President for not firing Secretary Duque. There were 14 senators who had earlier asked him to resign. I don’t think that number has changed,” Lacson went on.

“Many others in the [Department of Health] and the medical community also want him to resign or be replaced,” he added.

In May, Duque also drew flak for announcing that the Philippines was already experiencing its second wave of COVID-19 infections.

A month later, Duque drew flak for announcing that the Philippines was already experiencing its second wave of COVID-19 infections.

He also recently found himself facing criticisms for claiming that the country had successfully flattened the pandemic curve even as the confirmed that COVID-19 cases continued to rise.

He later clarified this, saying the country’s COVID-19 curve was “bent” and not “flattened” since April.

Still, Duterte said he still trusts his health secretary. He even consoled Duque during a meeting in Malacañang by asking him not to be too sensitive to criticisms.

“All these being considered, it is not difficult to understand why we are in this mess,” Lacson also said.

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TAGS: COVID-19 pandemic, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Nation, News, Senator Panfilo Lacson
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