Pres. Duterte tells Duque it is not yet time for him to resign; says he still trusts him

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on September 7, 2020. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

(Eagle News) – President Rodrigo Duterte said he thinks that it is not yet time for Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to resign amid a Senate recommendation for him to be replaced as head of the country’s health department.

In his talk to the nation on Monday night, Sept. 7, Duterte said he still trusts Duque as long as there the Department of Justice has not yet found any evidence pinning him for corruption in the Philhealth scandal.

“By the way, Secretary Duque, this is not the time for you to resign. Hindi pa panahon mag-resign,” the President said.

“So… I have heard stories about you going to resign. I have full trust in you. Ang akin lang naman diyan ‘yung corruption. Eh wala ka doon sa ano — tinignan namin ‘yung papel. Unless there is — there is a specific finding sa batas, sabihin mo lang sa akin. But as of now, I have full… I said there’s a — there’s an investigation going on. Let it be if you are not guilty of corruption,” he said.

Duterte said that what he really hates is corruption, but he said he would want to know the details of the DOJ investigation.

If Duque has been negligent, this is always a possibility in handling big organizations, he said.

-Duterte to Duque: No reason to resign if you’re not corrupt-

The President said that if Duque is not corrupt, then he has no reason to resign.

“Kalaban ko lang ho ‘yung corruption. ‘Yung… Well, let us see doon sa ano mo ‘yung negligence mo. Pero, you know, if you handle a big organization… I had a chance when I became mayor and then president.”

Talagang mane-negligent ka kasi hindi mo mahabol minsan eh and sometimes mawala ‘yung papel. So these are the things that sabi ko sa iyo na — the one that really matter to me. What matters is ‘yung corruption. Pero kung hindi ka corrupt, wala ka namang — when you do not have any reason to resign,” the President told Duque who was attending the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Diseases (IATF-EID) meeting on COVID-19 in Malacanang.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during a meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) attended by President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang on Sept. 7, 2020 (Photo grabbed from PCOO video/Courtesy PCOO)

The health chief even expressed his “frustration” with the Senate recommendation to charge him for his failure to address corruption in Philhealth.

He said he never signed any of the papers regarding the anomalous transactions in Philhealth including those on the questionable release of funds under the corporation’s Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM); the procurement of allegedly overpriced IT equipment; and the supposed manipulation of the corporation’s financial status.

“Nakakatawa ho, I have to express my — my frustration, sir, I hope you don’t mind. Eh ‘yon ngang mga pumirma eh ni hindi man sila ni-recommend eh. Iyong hindi — ‘yung mga pumirma, hindi ni-recommend for filing of the cases,” Duque said.

“Iyong hindi pumirma, ‘yon lang ang idinawit. Parang bakit naman ganun? What height of injustice, unfairness? And masakit po ‘yan, sir, ‘yung hindi ka nga pumirma ikaw pa iyong idinadawit — ipinipilit na idawit. Iyon, sir, ang hindi ko matanggap lang sa dibdib ko eh. Hindi ako nakakatulog ho dahil dito, sir,” he added.

Duque also thanked the President for his “continued trust” in him.

“These are not normal times and it is not easy for me to just accept all the blows hurled at me. I attended the Senate hearing to cooperate with the Senate in ascertaining the truth. I am disappointed though that the Senate has recommended the filing of charges against me” the health chief said in an earlier statement.

“It is unfortunate that the Senate had decided to implead me on PhilHealth Board Resolution No. 2515 dated 31 March 2020, when I have not participated in its deliberation nor have I signed any document relative to it.”

(Eagle News Service)