Source: Senator Panfilo Lacson’s official Facebook 

Sen. Panfilo Lacson expressed confusion over the president’s confidence in Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s performance despite numerous calls for the Cabinet official’s resignation. 

“Having said that, I couldn’t understand what ‘amulet’ or magic potion Duque has as far as the president is concerned,” Lacson said on his official website. 

“It is not only me who disagrees with the president for not firing Secretary Duque. There were 14 senators who had earlier asked him to resign. I don’t think that number has changed,” he added. 

Lacson was among the 14 senators who called for Duque’s resignation in April, citing his alleged “failure of leadership, negligence, and lack of foresight” in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that staff of the Department of Health (DOH) and the medical community also wanted Duque to resign or be replaced.

Despite numerous calls from lawmakers for Duque’s resignation, the president only advised him “not to dwell” on the criticisms of his alleged incompetence in handling the Covid-19 outbreak in the country. 

“Habang nandiyan po sa pwesto si Secretary Duque, he continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the president,” Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser on May 26.

As the DOH chief, Duque heads the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases. 

On Sunday, a group of healthcare professionals called “Second Opinion PH” also called for the immediate removal of Secretary Duque, along with the generals and czars in the IATF, amid frontliners’ appeal to revert Metro Manila to enhanced community quarantine. Jayziel Khim Budino