Make sure you read the true article on ‘The Duterte-Duque connection’


    ‘Another Duterte appointee with a relatively little-known Duque connection is Esther Margaux ‘Mocha’ Uson. In several of his columns in the Sunday Punch, ‘Pangasinan’s News Leader,’ Gonzalo described Uson as his baptismal goddaughter, or, in more colloquial terms, his inaanak.’

    THERE’S a diagram being spread in social media titled “Duterte-Duque Corporation: Making a Business Out of a Crisis” attributed to VERA Files.

    VERA Files, which I am a part of, issued a statement saying it has nothing to do with the diagram titled “Duterte-Duque Corporation: Making Business out of a crisis” posted on the Facebook page of a group called UP Plano and attributed to VERA Files as the ‘source.’”
    On August 15, VERA Files carried an article, “The ties that bind: The Duterte-Duque connection” by Miguel Paolo P. Reyes.

    Reyes also issued a statement on the graphic being shared on social media:

    “This is regarding the graphic titled “Duterte-Duque Corporation: Making a Business Out of a Crisis,” circulating on various social media pages. The source indicated on the graphic is Vera Files, with some pages specifying the source as the article that I wrote, “The ties that bind: The Duterte-Duque connection.” However, neither I nor Vera Files produced the graphic, nor do we know or had contact with the people who made it. I encourage those who have seen the graphic to also read the article and note the differences in their contents.”

    Here are excerpts to that well-researched article of Reyes:

    “Last month, Malacañang spokesperson Harry Roque provided a possible explanation.

    During an interview with Pinky Webb in the CNN Philippines program The Source on June 23, Roque explained that the president had a “deep friendship” with Francisco’s older brother, lawyer Gonzalo “Gonz” T. Duque, Duterte’s fellow San Beda College of Law alumnus. Duterte supposedly believes the Duques could be trusted not to steal from public coffers because they were already wealthy. Duterte considers Francisco, who was appointed DOH secretary in November 2017, to be a man of integrity, who has never committed anything criminal himself, Roque added.

    “In 2004, Duque was accused of diverting over PHP 500 million from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to buy PhilHealth cards, which were distributed for free.

    The political opposition perceived it to be an illegal use of public funds for the presidential campaign of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, given that her presidency-by-succession was about to end. The cards reportedly bore her picture and the name of her administration’s healthcare program: Greater Medical Assistance, or GMA. Duque, however, claimed the fund transfers from OWWA were made in 2005, almost a year after the elections. In 2011, Duque and Macapagal-Arroyo were among those charged with plunder because of the PhilHealth-OWWA issue. Then Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales dismissed the case in 2012 due to lack of merit.

    “Duque is one of several Duterte appointees closely associated with Macapagal-Arroyo and the connection has a “historical” character. Duque is the son of Francisco Duque Jr. who was once president of the Philippine Medical Association, and was appointed Secretary of Health by President Diosdado Macapagal, Gloria’s father. Francisco Jr. resigned from Macapagal’s cabinet in 1963 to run for governor of Pangasinan. Diosdado personally campaigned for the elder Francisco, who served one term as governor, from 1964-1967.

    “Echoing their fathers’ ties, Macapagal-Arroyo appointed the younger Francisco to serve as her Secretary of Health, a position he held from 2005 to 2009. Duque’s last appointment under Macapagal-Arroyo was as chairman of the Civil Service Commission, a position he held until 2015, during the Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III administration.

    “Duque’s first appointment under Duterte was as chairman of the Government Service Insurance System. His term started in March 2017, abruptly ending in October of the same year when he replaced Paulyn Ubial as DOH secretary. Before him, his brother Gonzalo Duque, the president’s friend, was appointed commissioner of the Social Security Commission in 2016.”

    Reyes also traced the connection between Duque and Mocha Uson:

    “Another Duterte appointee with a relatively little-known Duque connection is Esther Margaux ‘Mocha’ Uson. In several of his columns in the Sunday Punch, ‘Pangasinan’s News Leader,’ Gonzalo described Uson as his baptismal goddaughter, or, in more colloquial terms, his inaanak. Both the Usons and the Duques are from Dagupan, Pangasinan. Gonzalo was a close friend of Uson’s father, the late Judge Oscar Uson, as well as Uson’s mother, Dr. Esterellita Uson, a former head of the pediatrics department of the Region I Medical Center in Dagupan.”….

    “Meanwhile, Uson’s childhood playmate, Gonzalo’s daughter, Ma. Florinda Princess “Pebbles” Espenilla Duque is currently Director IV (head of agency) of the Bureau of Communications Services (BCS), an attached agency of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO). She was earlier appointed Director III at the PCOO for New Media and Special Concerns in July 2016. She is involved in the PCOO-Philippine Information Agency’s Dismiss Disinformation campaign, which aims to combat alleged fake news against the Duterte administration, such as the purportedly false claims about the War on Drugs. According to her public LinkedIn profile, Pebbles Duque is a long-time “new media strategist.”

    “Pebbles Duque is now heavily engaged in public relations regarding the government’s responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Duque in fact gave a press briefing during the launch of the online government COVID-19 portal,”
    Read Reyes’ full article here: