Secretary Duque, this is not the time for you to resign. I have full trust in you.
President Rodrigo Duterte told this to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during his public address Monday night putting his foot down on clamors to fire the latter over alleged corruption at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
“Ang akin lang naman dyan eh corruption, wala ka doon (For me it’s really just the corruption, and you’re not there),” the President said in the presence of Duque and other Cabinet members.
Duterte’s pronouncement came after Duque on Wednesday said he was ready to resign if his services were no longer needed and the Senate Committee as a Whole recommended the filing of graft and malversation charges against him and other officials of PhilHealth.
Duterte also brushed off accusations that Duque committed “negligence” in leading the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic despite his long hours of work.
“Pero you know, if you handle a big organizaton..talagang magne-negligent, kasi hindi mo mahabol minsan eh,” Duterte said.
In response, Duque said he was upset that his name was included in the Senate’s list of people who were charged with despite not signing the approval of the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism that paid some hospitals for services not related to coronavirus disease 2019.
“Yung mga pumirma hindi ni-recommend for filing of cases. Yung hindi pumirma, sila ang dinawit. Bakit naman ganun? Heart of injustice…Masakit po ‘yan, yung hindi ka nga pumirma, ikaw pa yung pinipilit na idawit,” Duque said.
(“Those who signed were not recommended for the filing of cases. Those who did not sign, they were said to be part of it. Why is it like that? Heart of injustice.. That hurts, when you didn’t sign but they say that you are involved in it,” he said.)
Duque, who is the chairman of the board of PhilHealth being the health secretary, has since been denying his involvement in the alleged fraudulent scheme stating that he never attended any deliberation or signed any board resolution.