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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Bong Go asks Duque to resign; Duque says: ‘If the time comes, when I need to resign, I will’

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Determined to clear his name and the agency after the state auditors had flagged “deficiencies” in handling Covid response funds, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III turned down Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go’s request for him to resign.

“Make no mistake, sabi nga ni Pangulong Duterte, may tiwala siya sa’yo until the end. Pero mahirap na [Pres.Rodrigo Duterte said that he has trust in you, until the end. But it’s hard]. You have done so much for the Filipinos. We don’t want that because of issues about you, your output will be compromised, especially now that we both know lives are at stake,” Go said during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s investigation on the 2020 report of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the budget utilization of the DOH.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson asked: “I would just like to be clarified, did Senator Go just asked Sec. Duque to resign when he told him to make the supreme sacrifice?”

To which, Senator Richard Gordon answered, “That sounds like it. We must ask Go.”

Lacson then clarified if a senator can just ask a department secretary to resign without a resolution.

“That is a prerogative of any senator here as far as I’m concerned,” Gordon said.

Go then said that he was just giving Duque “advice”, stressing he pities Duterte already.

After hearing this, Gordon then asked Duque if he can “take that as an advice or shot in the bow?”

“Mr. Chairman, with all due respect, I have been attending both the hearings in Congress and Senate Blue Ribbon Committee with one goal in mind and that is for me and the DOH to clear this COA observations and findings of deficiencies. We want to clear everything,” Duque said.

He furthered:”If the time comes, when I need to resign, I will. I mean, there’s no problem with me, Mr. Chairman.”

On the purported deficiencies reported by COA, Duque declared that they will address it squarely.

“We’ve worked so hard to win the fight against this pandemic for 18 months we have been relentless. Many of our workers even died, some got sick, some even isolated,” the DOH chief lamented.

Duque stressed that the country is confronted with a “very unique situation” and that it is in a state of public health emergency.

He said that the DOH has been leading the way, helping the local government unit, explaining to the people about the evolving virus.

“This is not enough,” he said adding that it would be the people who will judge him and the DOH.

“We are undeterred in service. We want to work. We want to get the vaccinations ramped up as much as we can. I owe it to the Department of Health. My people in DOH have supported me in this fight against the pandemic,” he said.

Duque stressed that if he needs to leave, “I can leave. There is no problem on that.”

“I just want to be cleared with this COA findings and we can reach the herd immunity,” Duque stressed.

Gordon then responded that following the COA report, it is their duty to investigate.

“I accept that, and I appreciate that, and I respect that about you and the Department of Health people,” Gordon said stressing that what is being investigated is the money of the people if it was properly used.

“Mahirap mag imbestiga sa [It is difficult to investigate in the] middle of pandemic,” Gordon concluded.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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