President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night offered the job of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to a US-based member of the OCTA Research Team but got rejected.

In his late-night “Talk to the People” address, the president asked Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P. if he could be the country’s new secretary of health.

“We would be happy…I would be happy to appoint you as the secretary of health…[Duque] vents a desire really to rest, you know, after all this ruckus against him,” Duterte told Austriaco.

Austriaco quickly rejected Duterte’s offer.

“No po. No po. Secretary Duque is doing a fine job po and he’s a Thomasian po,” Austriaco quipped.

Austriaco is a professor of biology and of theology at the Dominicans’ Providence College in Rhode Island. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

He is developing a yeast-based Covid-19 vaccine that would do away with strict storage and administration requirements.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. praised Austriaco for his influence in convincing religious individuals to receive Covid-19 vaccines.

“Father Austriaco is helping us all throughout even though nasa [US] siya. In fact, he is the one communicating with the priests and also with the religious to use [churches as vaccination sites],” he said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro