Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III didn’t receive any scolding from President Rodrigo Duterte after making an erroneous claim that the Philippines had already flattened the curve of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections in April.

“Wala pong pagsabon na nangyari,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing Thursday.

Duque drew flak after he proclaimed in an online media forum on Wednesday that the country had successfully flattened the curve due to longer case and mortality doubling time, only to withdraw his statement a few hours later clarifying that what he meant was the curve was “bent.”

Roque said he personally talked with Duque over the phone to clarify what had happened. 

“Matapos nangyari iyan, tumawag kaagad sa akin si Secretary Duque at sinabi nga niya na parang mali ‘yung salitang nagamit niya, sabi ko korekin lang natin,” Roque said.

“Kinorek lang po. Di naman na-flatten, nabali at ang ibig sabihin niya, mukha talagang kumonti ang kaso matapos tayo magkaroon ng ECQ [enhanced community quarantine] at MECQ [modified ECQ].”

Various senators expressed their dismay and shock over Duque’s controversial statement.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said he prompted the health Secretary to be more circumspect in making such claims. 

Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III kidded Duque’s statement and said that the health chief may be referring to people who gained weight during the countrywide quarantine.

“Baka fatten the curve ang ibig niyang sabihin. Daming tumaba,” Sotto said.

Duque’s competence and credibility have been continuously questioned by various senators due to his failures in handling the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. 

However, Duterte backed him up amidst the resignation calls.  (RJ Espartinez)