Duque ‘ready’ to air side after House recalls recommendation of charges vs him

duque ready to air side

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday said he is ready to explain after the House of Representatives recalled its recommendation to file charges against him and decided  to hear his side first.

“I am ready to explain my side on the issues raised by the committee against the FDA,” Duque told INQUIRER.net in a text message.

The House of Representatives had recommended charges against Duque and former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Eric Domingo over their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Manila 3rd District Rep. John Marvin Nieto on Wendesday filed a motion to reconsider the adoption of the findings and recommendations contained in Committee Report 9313 of the House committee on good government and public accountability. It was later approved.

Diwa Partylist Rep. Michael Aglipay, who chairs the House committee on good government and public accountability, said there should be  “due process” before the recommendation, saying there should be further hearings or get Duque’s side “to get the full picture.”

The committee report had recommended the filing of charges against Duque and Domingo over violation of Republic Act No 6713 or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.”

The committee also recommended the filing of charges against Duque, Domingo, and FDA’s Center for Drug Regulation and Research Director Joyce Cirunay for violation of the “Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007”.

The recommendation came following the committee’s inquiry on the policies and guidelines of the Department of Health (DOH) and FDA for the registration, utilization, manufacture, distribution, or sale of drug products for COVID-19, particularly policies and guidelines that appear to be “detrimental” to the public interest.

Duque, however, said he does not “meddle” with the affairs of the FDA.

“The FDA has its laws to enforce and implement to ensure the safety, quality and efficacy of drugs, medicines, vaccines and devices for public use,” he explained. “I do not meddle with their day to day operations.”

“The role of the SOH (Secretary of Health) is giving guidance on certain policy issues and acts on appeals.brought before his office by complainants to the decisions rendered by FDA,” Duque added.

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/MUF

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