President Duterte may still change his mind about the fate of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, especially if he decides to adopt the Senate’s viewpoint that removing the latter from office is the appropriate action to take.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Senate Committee of the Whole wrapped up its legislative inquiry on the controversies hounding PhilHealth and recommended the firing of Duque as part of good governance measures at the state’s health insurance firm.
In his Monday presser, Roque said that President Duterte could change his mind about Duque if he ascertains that the Senate’s recommendation would have sufficient basis.
“Kung meron naman po talagang basehan bakit naman po hindi magbabago ang isip ng Presidente (If there really is a basis to fire Secretary Duque, why won’t the President change his mind about him)?” he said.
“Abogado naman po ang Presidente, naging piskal pa nga so alam niya ang (The President is a lawyer and was even a prosecutor so he knows the) rules of evidence,” he added.
According to Roque, the President has not yet read the Senate’s decision but he assured the public that the Chief Executive would review the findings and the evidence carefully.
He asked the public to give Duterte enough time to read and review what the Senate has to say.
“Siya na po ang makaka-desisyon kung kapanipaniwala ang desisyon ng Senado o hindi (The President is the one who will decide if the Senate’s decision is believable or not),” Roque said.
“All I can say is rest assured, meron pong professional competence ang ating Presidente (the President has professional competence) to evaluate the evidence for himself,” he added.
President Duterte has repeatedly defended Duque over calls to fire him for the latter’s supposed failure to address the COVID-19 pandemic and, recently, the new corruption allegations in PhilHealth in which he serves as board chairman.