President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday revealed that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III had tried to resign twice, but insisted he would not let go of his health chief.

Duterte, during his “Talk to the People” address, said Duque did not do anything wrong.

The Commission on Audit (COA) recently flagged the Department of Health (DOH) for “deficiencies” in its management of P67.32 billion in pandemic funds.

“Alam ko gusto mo nang mag-resign, pero alam mo rin na tatanggihan kita
ngayon. Noon you have attempted to resign twice. I expect you to say
something to me after this, mag-resign ka. Sabihin ko sa iyo, hindi,” Duterte said.

“Wala ka namang ginawang masama. Bakit ka mag-resign?” he added.

Addressing the COA, Duterte said “ongoing” government projects should not be audited.

“Huwag ka munang mag-audit hanggang hindi pa natapos ang trabaho ko. Iyan lang naman sana ang hinihingi natin. Do not conduct an audit on our work na ongoing pa kasi dino-document pa ‘yan,” he said.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, Duque has faced two corruption allegations under his watch, including the P15-billion PhilHealth corruption scandal.

Several health groups, senators and lawmakers have called for Duque’s resignation. John Ezekiel J. Hirro