The first and last page of the Senate resolution calling for Duque’s ouster as Health Secretary.

​At least 14 senators signed a joint resolution calling for the immediate resignation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III “for his failure of leadership” in handling the country’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Senate President Tito Sotto along with Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Senators Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Nancy Binay, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Sherwin Gatchalian, Panfilo Lacson, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, Grace Poe, Francis Tolentino, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Joel Villanueva signed Senate Resolution 362 calling for Duque’s immediate ouster.

Sotto said the two other senators, Senate President pro tempore Ralph Recto whose name appears in the resolution, and an unnamed senator have yet to sign the resolution.

The senators cite Duque’s “failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight and inefficiency in the performance of his mandate as the Secretary of the Department of Health” as the reason for their ouster call.

Rather than give valuable information on the problems and challenges confronting the country in light of COVID-19 pandemic, the senators say Duque showed “lack of competence, efficiency and foresight bordering on negligence in handling the health crisis.”

The lawmakers charged that Duque’s “poor planning, delayed response, lack of transparency, and misguided and flip-flopping policies and measures actions“ endangered and continue to endanger the lives of healthcare professional, other frontliners and the Filipino people in general.

Duque appeared before a Senate hearing about the country’s response to the COVID-19 threat. The country had only two confirmed cases back then.

Today the Philippines has 5,453 confirmed cases, the highest in Southeast Asia. 349 deaths, and 353 recoveries add up to the country’s COVID-19 statistics.

Reappointed Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Cabinet members serve at pleasure of the President. He added that Duque continues to enjoy the president’s full trust and confidence. (Rommel F. Lopez)