By Mario Casayuran
The resolution signed by the majority bloc in the 24-member Senate did not ask President Duterte to dismiss Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III but appealed to Duque to consider resigning from his post for his failure of leadership in addressing the uncontrolled grip of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the country.
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, one of the 14 senators who signed Senate Resolution 362 on April 16 asking Duque to resign, issued the statement after President Duterte rejected the senators’ call for his immediate resignation.
Lacson, chairman of the Senate national defense and security committee, said the senators’ ‘’appeal or demand’’ was anchored on their position that the DOH leadership mishandled the situation.
He noted that there is still no flattening of the curve since the COVID-19 started to hit the country starting early this year.
Lacson also said the senators also asked that Duque turn over his post to someone who is competent.
In a TV/radio interview today (April 17), Lacson cited a series of Duque’s missteps or inefficiencies in confronting the virus scourge.
Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, did not join his colleagues in the majority bloc in signing the resolution.
Go said that there should be no changing of horses while in midstream.
Lacson revealed that Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III asked Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon as head of the Senate minority bloc to join the majority bloc in signing electronically the resolution.
‘’Ang sagot ni Senator Drilon ‘pass na muna siya.’ Siyempre siya naman ang leader ng minority. Ang presumption ni SP, yan na ang position ng minority bloc. So ni-route na lang ang draft ng resolution sa majority bloc kasi nga sinabihan si Sen Frank (Drilon) at sumagot siya pass muna kami. So yan ang presumption,’’ he said. (The reply of Senator Drilon is ‘we pass’. Since he is the head of the minority bloc, the Senate President presumed that that is the position of the minority bloc. So we routed the draft of the resolution to the majority bloc.)
Lacson revealed that Sotto likened a forced resignation of Duque to the failure of a basketball team captain to gain headway against the opposing team.
Failure to replace the team captain would result in the loss or defeat of the team, Lacson said referring to the difficult war against COVID-19.