Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III served at President Rodrigo Duterte’s pleasure and should be allowed to do his job.

Roque’s statement came a day after he corrected Duque’s statement about the Philippines being under a second wave of Covid-19 infections and after allegations of the procurement of overpriced medical equipment and supplies by the Department of Health.

“Secretary Francisco Duque III serves at the pleasure of the appointing authority, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in this challenging time,” Roque said.

Duque’s statement before a Senate hearing and inconsistencies between him and Roque had drawn criticism from lawmakers.

Roque on Thursday said Duque’s interpretation was just a personal opinion and not an error, and clarified that the country was still experiencing the first wave of infections.

“Ang medisina, parang abogado yan, iisa batas natin, iba iba interpretasyon,” Roque said in a press briefing. “Hindi nagkamali, nagkaroon ng ibang interpretasyon.”

Fifteen senators had called for Duque’s resignation over his handling of the coronavirus response.

“Secretary Duque will answer allegations in the proper forum but for now let us allow him to do his job during this global health emergency,” Roque said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro