A TOTAL of 14 members of the Philippine Senate are seeking the “immediate resignation” of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, saying the health department chief is remiss in handling the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
The 14 senators filed Senate Resolution 362 yesterday, Thursday, which alleged that Secretary Duque was guilty of the following: “Failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight, and inefficiency in the performance of his mandate as the secretary of Department of Health resulting in poor planning, delayed response, lack of transparency, and misguided and flip-flopping policies and measures in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic that endangered and continues to endanger the lives of our healthcare professionals, other frontliners, and the Filipino people.”
The resolution was signed and filed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Manny Pacquiao, Sherwin Gatchalian, Francis Tolentino, Joel Villanueva, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Imee Marcos, Lito Lapid, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Panfilo Lacson.
The move in the Senate smacks of being a copy of one in the United States, where President Donald Trump has reposted a Twitter message that said “Time to #FireFauci” referring to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the US federal government’s top expert on infectious diseases.
It needs not much thinking to see and realize that the Department of Health under Secretary Duque was really remiss in some ways in containing the virulent COVID-19. Although the DOH has the primordial responsibility in this public health emergency, it is also apparent that certain sectors of the government and the general public are at fault in this national tragedy, including Congress.
The Senate resolution seeking to fire Duque is somewhat open to question because it lacks the endorsement or signature of Senator Christopher Go, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and the most press-released member of the Senate today, commenting on COVID-19 in all media several times a day!
May we know where Senator Go stands in this issue?
It is also interesting why the Senate resolution was not endorsed by the opposition — Drilon, Pangilinan, De Lima, Hontiveros, etc. Where are they on this concern?
The most relevant question now is how will President Duterte — who wields the power to hire and fire his Cabinet members — take the suggestion to change the health secretary in mid-stream. The Filipino people will follow him up on this one, a question second only to his decision to lift or continue with the enhanced community quarantine after April 30.