Duterte expresses willingness to accept Duque’s resignation
By Robina Asido
President Rodrigo Duterte expressed openness to accept possible voluntary resignation from Health Secretary Francisco Duque III as he again defended him amid the Commission on Audit (COA) report on alleged misused of Covid-19 pandemic funds.
In his recorded talk to the people aired on Tuesday night, Duterte assured to " stand by" the health secretary despite the COA report on pandemic funds which according to him has tainted the integrity of Duque.
"I can't take that after I placed Duque there and then now because of the COA finding he is painted with black and then I will just fire him. For what? Where is your sense of fairness? Now, if Duque offers to resign voluntarily I will accept it but if you say that I will tell him to resign, that will never happen," he said.
"If I order you to leave, there could only be one thing, that you're corrupt... time and again I have always admonished cabinet members to hurry up a little there, things like that, but the outright dismissal because of the clamor of the public, even if it was just Duque and me and the rest of the Philippines, I will stand by him. If I will be ruined so be it, but I will never abandon a person just like that," he added.
Duterte said he will punish Duque if he sees any corruption committed by the health secretary.
"If I see any mistake from him even if it is just 10,000 (pesos) or 5,000(pesos) , I really told him I will punish you," he said.
It can be recalled that in his previous Talk to The People, Duterte said that he will not allow Duque to quit amid the alleged deficiency in the use of the P67.3 billion Covid-19 response funds reported by COA.
As he defended Duque, Duterte also expressed the need for the COA to improve the presentation of its report.
" There should be a sort of preamble that this is an audit report. Then we have seen that there is no corruption, there is no loss of fund and then before you summarize everything, so that the people who will read will put on notice that he is reading something other than corruption," he said. DMS