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No dice: Palace stands by Duque as health chief

Palace backs Health Sec. Francisco Duque amid resignation calls
by the staff
Apr 16, 2020
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

FRANCISCO Duque III will remain in his position as the health chief until President Rodrigo Duterte feels otherwise.

That's the stern statement from Malacanang following the call of 15 senators for Duque's ouster from his post as the secretary of the Department of Health (DOH) for his "failure of leadership" in the light of the country's fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"The President has made a decision for Health Secretary Duque to stay put," said executive secretary Salvador Medialdea on Thursday.

Newly-rehired presidential spokesman Harry Roque doubled down on these statements in his press briefing.

"As I have been repeatedly saying in the past, every Cabinet member serves at the pleasure of the President and until they are fired by the President, the President continues to have full trust and confidence in them," he said.

Duque found himself in hot water after majority of the senators called for his immediate resignation this morning, citing negligence, lack of foresight, and inefficiency, among others, which led to the nationwide spread of the virus.

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Furthermore, the Palace said that it has no part in the clamor for Duque's resignation even if a bulk of those senators are the president's political allies.

"We do not have any position. We do not have anything to do with these initiatives seeking the resignation of the secretary of health," said Roque.

Despite the calls for Duque to quit, Malacanang expects the Health secretary to work harder to prove that he's worthy of his job.

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