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He may still enjoy President Rodrigo Duterte’s confidence, but Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has lost the trust of many, including his own colleagues in the Department of Health and in the medical community.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said this Monday as he maintained his disagreement with Duterte for not firing Duque in the wake of the mess involving the COVID-19 threat.

“It is not only me who disagrees with the President for not firing Secretary Duque. There were 14 senators who had earlier asked him to resign. I don’t think that number has changed. Many others in the DOH and the medical community also want him to resign or be replaced,” Lacson said in a statement.

Lacson also reiterated he “couldn’t understand what ‘amulet’ or magic potion Duque has as far as the President is concerned.”

On Sunday night, Duterte defended Duque anew from calls to fire him, saying Duque did not import the COVID-19 virus into the Philippines.

But Lacson cited Duque’s sin of omission where his failure to do early contact tracing of a couple who arrived in the Philippines from Wuhan in China may have contributed to the fast spread of the virus.

“(Duque’s) failure to do a simple contact tracing on the co-passengers who took the same flight as the virus-infected couple from Wuhan, China, further aggravated by his refusal to assume responsibility by blaming other agencies of government when it was his duty to coordinate that effort was his first major offense in a series of devastating blunders,” he noted.

“All these being considered, it is not difficult to understand why we are in this mess,” he added.

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