President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he would refuse any attempt of Health Sec. Francisco Duque III to resign over supposed "deficiencies" in the management of COVID-19 pandemic response funds.
Duterte said he was aware of Duque's intention to resign but stood firm that he would refuse any such move. Duque, according to the President, has attempted to resign twice.
"Alam ko na gusto mo na mag-resign pero alam mo din na tatanggihan kita," Duterte told Duque in a meeting aired late Monday until early Tuesday.
"Wala ka naman ginawang masama bakit ka mag-resign?" the President said.
The President made the statement following the release of the Commission on Audit's report that found deficiencies in the Department of Health's spending of COVID-19 response funds. The DOH had said that all of the flagged issues are "accounted for" and that officials of the agency are willing to cooperate with any investigation.
Duterte instead chastised the Commission on Audit for publishing its findings on the spending of different government agencies--a duty of the body.
“Stop that flagging! Godd*mn it! You make a report, do not flag, and do not publish it because it will condemn the agency or the person that you are flagging," Duterte said.
Instead of "flagging," the President said what state auditors are doing is "flogging" government officials with their reports that put a "taint of corruption by perception" on them.
The President assured the public that he would not allow any of his Cabinet members to steal from state coffers.
"Ako mismo ang presidente, ako mismo ang mangako na I will protect you people and that includes your money," he said.