PRRD: Duque should not resign, he did ‘nothing wrong’

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MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Monday night that he would not accept Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s request for resignation due to “deficiencies” in his department’s management of the PHP67.32 billion funds for the Covid-19 response.

Duterte said in a pre-recorded public address that Duque had “attempted” to resign twice before, and that he expected him to do so again.

“Alam ko gusto mo nang mag-resign, pero alam mo rin na tatanggihan kita ngayon (I know you want to resign, but I will refuse you),” he said.

Duterte insisted that Duque should not resign because he did “nothing wrong”.

“I expect you to say something to me after this, mag-resign ka. Sabihin ko sa iyo, hindi. Wala ka namang ginawang masama. Bakit ka mag-resign (that you’ll resign. Let me tell you, no. You did nothing wrong. Why will you resign?),” he added.

Those who believed Duque was corrupt should file accusations with the Supreme Court, according to Duterte.

“In the end, if you find that there is — mga nawala diyan, mga PHP500, eh ‘di magdemanda kayo, punta ng Supreme Court (something missing, some PHP500, then file a case before the Supreme Court). The Supreme Court will be a fair arbiter of things,” he said.

He stated that none of his Cabinet members will be allowed to steal from public funds.

“Ako mismo Presidente, ako mismo nangako na (I’m the President and I promised that) I will protect you, it includes your money. Do you think papayag ako na may isa dito sa Cabinet member magnakaw maski PHP1,000? (Do you think I will allow a Cabinet member to steal even PHP1,000)? You really think that I would allow it?” he added.

The deficiencies revealed by the Commission on Audit (COA) could be traced to insufficient paperwork, according to Duterte, who stressed that this does not necessarily mean that money is being stolen.

“Kapag ang COA nagsabi sa deficiency, ‘di mo masabi na ninakaw ang pera (When COA says there’s a deficiency, it does not mean the money was stolen), deficiency is really in producing the necessary documents,” he said.

Duterte has defended Duque in multiple speeches, despite calls for his resignation in the midst of issues over the government’s Covid-19 response and anomalies concerning the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

He had constantly stressed that he still has full trust in Duque.

The COA amended its report on Friday, saying that “deficiencies” did not include conclusions related to corruption.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.