Duterte consoles Duque, advises him not to be ‘touchy’ on criticisms
Marje Pelayo • May 26, 2020 • 206
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte seems unfazed by the controversy facing Health Secretary Francisco Duque III which prompted calls for his resignation.
Instead, the President asked Duque to explain how he came up with the controversial statement saying the Philippines is already on its second wave of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.
The President, likewise, advised Duque not to be ‘touchy’ on criticisms.
“Alam mo wag ka masyadong ma-touchy sa mga issues (Do not be too touchy on issues) because always there will be pros and cons. Pakinggan na lang natin (Let’s just listen to them) because this is a democracy,” the President told Duque during a late night briefing at Malacañang on Monday (May 25).
“So alam ko ikaw ay (I know you are) hard-pressed, and I know your situation. You just tell us if that is the — if that’s the one that’s in your—the grey matter between your ears. Eh di sabihin mo, kung ayaw nilang maniwala, ‘Bahala kayo kasi ito yung akin.’ Maybe you should adapt that kind of [attitude]. So be it. If I committed wrong as long as there is no malice there,” he added.
Among those pushing for Duque’s resignation is the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAP) which even sent a letter to the President requesting for Duque’s replacement as Health Chief.
In April, some members of the Senate filed a resolution calling for Secretary Duque’s resignation over his alleged lack of competence, efficiency, and foresight bordering on negligence in handling the health crisis. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday expressed confidence that the Office of the Ombudsman’s investigation into the alleged irregularities in the Department of Health’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis won’t affect the credibility of the agency and the government task force.
In a televised briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that at this point, health officials and other personalities involved in the probe are “presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
“Kung mapapansin ninyo naman po ang IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) po talaga, lahat po ng departamento, it’s a whole government approach, it’s not just the DOH although the DOH po has the position of leadership,” Roque said.
The Palace official also relayed that President Rodrigo Duterte believes that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III will be able to respond to the allegations being investigated by the Ombudsman.
“Kampante po ang president na masasagot po ni Secretary Duque lahat po ‘yang alegasyon sa Ombudsman,” he said.
He added that the president “has time and again expressed his continuing trust and confidence” in Duque whose leadership at the health agency has been beset by controversies.
The Office of the Ombudsman earlier said it will launch an investigation into the supposed irregularities in the DOH’s response against COVID-19.
The probe would cover the purchase of coronavirus disease test kits, delayed procurement of personal protective equipment and other supplies for healthcare workers and the rising number of fatalities among medical workers amid the public health crisis, as well as the delay in the release of financial assistance to healthcare workers who have fallen severely ill and died due to coronavirus disease.
Duque earlier said he is ready to face the Ombudsman probe. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)
Ombudsman Samuel Martires on Wednesday (June 17) ordered an investigation on Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque and other DOH officials over alleged irregularities in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response.
“I directed the creation of two more 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,” he said.
Martires also tasked the investigating team to file complaints against any DOH official or employee who would refuse to cooperate with the investigation.
Among the accusations to be investigated include:
Purchase of 100 thousand test kits by the Department of Health
Delayed procurement of Personal Protective Equipment and other medical gears necessary for the protection of healthcare workers
Alleged lapses and irregularities that led to the death of medical workers
Rising number of deaths and infected medical frontliners
Inaction in the release processing of benefits and financial assistance of “fallen” and infected medical frontliners; and
Confusing and delayed reporting of COVID-19 related deaths and confirmed cases.
Malacañang said it respects the decision of the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation on Duque and other DOH officials.
“We will let the process run its course as we enjoin Secretary Duque & the entire DOH bureaucracy to cooperate with the investigation and respect the orders of the OMB,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said he is taking the responsibility for the delayed compensation for health workers hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a tweet, the Duque said it is still his responsibility as the secretary of health to make sure compensations are properly distributed.
The Health Secretary initially put the blame of delayed compensation for the COVID-19 hit health workers on his subordinates, during his talk with President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday morning (June 5).
“Nakakahiya talaga sir, namatayan na nga, nagpawardi-wardi iyong mga tao ko na parang walang sense of urgency. Ang sama-sama po ng loob ko Mr. President (It is a shame, sir, that people are dying and yet my subordinates were dilly-dallying as if they have no sense of urgency. I am really disappointed, Mr. President),” he said.
The DOH already released a joint administrative order to implement the provision of the Bayanihan Law to provide P100,000 benefits to health workers who were badly hit by COVID-19, while P1 million will be given to the families of health workers who already passed away due to the virus.
Duterte has given the DOH until June 9 to provide the financial assistance to the health workers hit with COVID-19. AAC (with report from Aiko Miguel)
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