Netizens say Duque photos in Navotas doctored; DOH chief insists he was there

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III can’t seem to catch a break from criticisms.

On Thursday, Duque used Twitter to insist that he was at an event in Navotas City, where the national government distributed test kits and other supplies to aid the city’s COVID-19 response.

The reason for this clarification? Netizens speculated that photos of the embattled health chief’s donation drive and meeting were doctored — that he was not actually there.

“People online are claiming that one of my photos during a coordination meeting with Cong Tiangco in Navotas City was edited,” Duque said in a tweet on Thursday.

“To put an end to it, here are more photos showing that I attended the event with Cong John Rey, Sec Vince, Usec Bong, Dir Paz and the rest of my team,” he added.

Facebook users on Thursday shared a set of photos showing Duque with Secretary Vince Dizon and DOH Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega during his supposed visit to Navotas City last Tuesday, saying that the government is fooling the people as DOH allegedly deceived the public into thinking that the officials were actually there.

Netizens took offense to one particular photo, which showed Duque carrying some of the DOH boxes with two other individuals.

One Facebook user asked the administration’s supporters to “wake up” and stop being fooled by the government, while another lamented that a grade school student well-adept with photo editing software can do better than people at DOH.

“Gusto ko ‘yong harap-harapan nang niloloko ng admin pero dami pa din bulag-bulagan.  Beh, gising na,” the commenter said.

“That’s some REALLY sad Photoshop. Grade school children can do better. Maybe you should hire them,” another added.

As of posting, the post has over 4,200 shares and over 540 angry reactions.  The specific photo of Duque, which was allegedly processed, now has 15,000 shares.

Despite Duque’s clarification on Twitter, people still called on him to resign — due to perceived missteps in the government’s handling of the health crisis, and also because Duque supposedly thought of his image over the issue.

“Priorities, priorities, priorities.  Ego over country,” FM radio host Steven Silva said in reply to Duque.

“Sa lahat po sa photo parang kayo lang po ang iba ang body positioning kung basis yung angle ng kalsada,” another Twitter user said.

As of now, the Philippines has the most number of COVID-19 cases in the Asia Pacific region with 119,460. Of this total, 2,150 have died while 66,837 have recovered.