(Left to right) Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, President Rodrigo Duterte and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (Photos from PCOO and PIA)

President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to probe government irregularities would not exempt anyone, not even Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar whom the chief executive had repeatedly defended, Malacañang said Thursday.

“Wala naman po sigurong ganoon,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in response to Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s claim that Duterte seemed to have cleared two of his Cabinet members even before the probe started.

On Monday, Duterte ordered the Department of Justice to probe the entire government for corruption.

Duterte said Duque, who was tagged as the “godfather” of the alleged “mafia” that allegedly pocketed P15 billion within the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., had not been involved in the state insurer’s operations. Senators have said Duque’s negligence was enough to implicate him.

Villar, on the other hand, already had plenty of money and had no reason to be corrupt, said Duterte.

“Let me state here and now that I have nothing against Secretary Villar. He is one of the hardworking at maraming accomplishments si Secretary Villar,” the president said on Monday.

Roque claimed Duterte would not favor his appointees if they were found guilty.

“Naghahanap lang po ng ebidensiya ang pangulo. Kahit sino naman po, kahit gaano kalapit sa kaniya, kahit gaano ang pagpuri niya sa nakaraan, kung mayroon naman pong ebidensiya na katiwalian ay parurusahan ng ating presidente,” Roque said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro