House member asks Duque to resign

By Ellson Quismorio

Magdalo Party-List Rep. Manuel Cabochan III called on Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III to resign after the latter threw his own subordinates under the bus for the delay in the compensation of COVID-19-stricken health workers.

Rep. Manuel Cabochan III (Party-list, MAGDALO) (HOR / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO) Rep. Manuel Cabochan III (Party-list, MAGDALO)

"For once, he should take responsibility on the fiasco in DOH and resign," former Navy lieutenant said of Duque.
"Blaming his subordinates for the delay in health workers benefits is the height of Sec. Duque’s irresponsibility. He should be ashamed he even thought of that much more say it in words," added Cabochan, who is an independent member of the 302-strong House of Representatives.
The Health chief made headlines Friday after he was shown blaming DOH personnel for the delay in the release of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act-mandated compensation.

"Kasi nakakahiya talaga, sir, eh. Namatayan na nga, tapos nagpawardi-wardi mga tao ko na parang walang sense of urgency, sir. (It's really embarrassing, sir. These families' loved ones died and yet my people have been dilly-dallying, it's like they don't have a sense of urgency, sir)," Duque told President Duterte.

Hours later, Duque accepted the shortcoming as his own responsibility as DOH secretary.

But Cabochan said the COVID-19 situation in the country wouldn't be as bad as it is if Duque didn't drop the ball early on.

"He must remember, else he must be reminded, that we are too deep in this COVID mess because of his delayed response or recommendation because he downplayed the virus and was more worried on the repercussions should we impose travel ban on China in January or February," the solon said.

It was back in early February when Cabochan hit the government's failure to immediately impose a ban on the entry of visitors from Wuhan, China to the Philippines. Wuhan is the origin of the virus that causes COVID-19.

"In a crisis management standpoint, that was a costly error," he said back then.

It can be recalled that the Philippines had the first COVID-19 death recorded outside of mainland China last February 2. The fatality, a 44-year-old male, was a Chinese national.

In mid-April, some 14 out of the 24 members of the Senate called for Duque to step down for his alleged failure of leadership amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ellson A. Quismorio)