Fifteen out of 24 senators filed a resolution Thursday (April 16) calling for the resignation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for his supposed “failure of leadership” amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
In P.S. Resolution No. 362, the senators said Duque’s “failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresign and inefficiency” resulted in the Department of Health’s (DOH) “misguided and flip-flopping policies and measures” in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who signed the resolution were: Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, Francis Tolentino, Imee Marcos, Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Bong Revilla, Lito Lapid, and Panfilo Lacson.
The senators said Duque’s failure to put in place the necessary precautionary measures against COVID-19 worsened the pandemic’s impact on the country.
Some of Duque’s supposed failures which senators cited include: his belated announcement about the presence of suspected COVID-19 cases in some hospitals; late response to requests for protective gear for healthcare workers; dragging his feet on the acquisition of PCR-based testing for COVID-19, which has been approved by the World Health Organization.
Senators said Duque’s supposed incompetence also resulted in poor planning, delayed response and lack of transparency in the country’s response to COVID-19 crisis.