Pacquiao may be absent or busy with other things when Duque, other Cabinet members faced Senate - Palace
Senator Manny Pacquiao could be absent or busy with other things when Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and other Cabinet members faced a Senate inquiry over the government's response on coronavirus pandemic, Malacanang said on Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Pacquiao accepted President Rodrigo Duterte's challenge to name alleged corrupt agencies and individuals following the senator's accusation that the current administration is thrice corrupt than the previous administrations.
In accepting Duterte's dare, Pacquiao identified the Department of Health as the agency that needs to be looked into, particularly its purchases of rapid test kits, personal protective equipment, masks, and others.
"Was Senator Pacquiao absent when the Cabinet members made presentation or if he was not absent, he may have been preoccupied with something else?" Roque said in an interview with state-run television station PTV4.
He said Duque was one of the resource persons in a Senate inquiry and had made an explanation already of the DOH's purchases.
"After Secretary Duque made the explanation, no case was filed. And I'm not sure if he's really there during the Senate hearing or if he threw questions to Secretary Duque during that time," Roque said.
Last year, the Senate conducted an investigation over the alleged corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation. It recommended the filing of graft and malversation complaints against Duque, among others.
Majority of the senators also came out with a resolution last year calling for Duque's resignation for allegedly being inefficient in handling the COVID-19 crisis.
Duque, who got Duterte's support, did not resign. Celerina Monte/DMS