FIFTEEN senators filed a resolution today at 11:49 a.m. calling for the immediate resignation of Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III.
A leaked copy of the resolution obtained by ABS-CBN cited the secretary’s alleged “failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight, and inefficiency in the performance of his mandate.”
This, the senators said, resulted in “poor planning, delayed response, lack of transparency, and misguided and flip-flopping policies and measures” throughout the entirety of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Signatories Tito Sotto, Ralph Recto, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Manny Pacquiao, Win Gatchalian, Francis Tolentino, Joel Villanueva, Bato Dela Rosa, Imee Marcos, Lito Lapid, Bong Revilla, and Panfilo Lacson called for Duque’s immediate resignation.
One of the signatories, Sonny Angara, told ABS-CBN: “Kailangan mas bibo ang liderato dito laban sa virus.”
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also confirmed the resolution, saying in a press briefing: “Wala kaming kinalaman kung talagang mayroong ganyang inisyatibo na pag-resignin ang ating kalihim, Secretary of Health.”
He continued: “Every cabinet member serves at the pleasure of the President. And habang hindi sila tinatanggal, the President continues to have full trust and confidence in them.”
The call for the health secretary’s resignation comes at a flashpoint in the current COVID-19 crisis, with (so far) 5,453 confirmed cases, 349 deaths, and 353 recoveries. Despite the head count of official recoveries finally surpassing the number of deaths, the Philippines still has the highest number of novel coronavirus cases in the entire ASEAN, and was listed as the most high-risk country in the Asia Pacific, according to Hong Kong-based firm Deep Knowledge Ventures.