The fact that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III remains in the Cabinet means he still enjoys President Rodrigo Duterte’s trust, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Duque on Tuesday was tagged by resigned anti-fraud officer Thorrsson Montes Keith as “godfather” of the corrupt “mafia” within the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth). 

The health chief denied the allegation, saying it was “absolutely malicious” and “without basis.”

Asked if Duterte continued to trust Duque, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said: “He does.”

“If he has seized to have trust and confidence then Secretary Duque would no longer be in office because all Cabinet members serve at the pleasure of the President,” Roque said in a CNN Philippines interview.

After his election as 16th president of the Philippines, Duterte said not even “a whiff” of corruption would be tolerated under his term.

Roque said Duque has a right to due process, and that the health chief had been cleared by the Ombudsman.

Critics have pointed to Duque’s uninterrupted involvement with PhilHealth.

Duque was PhilHealth president under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, after which he became a member of the board.

As Duterte’s health secretary, Duque is also chairman of PhilHealth. John Ezekiel J. Hirro