Senator Panfilo M. Lacson said Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III only cares for his boss, President Duterte, but ‘’mismanages’’ the DOH’s strategy in containing COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite repeated calls from majority of senators and other sectors for the removal of Duque as DOH chief, the President refuses to yank him out of office for “reasons only they probably know”, said Lacson.
A 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report found out ‘’various deficiencies involving some P67.3 billion worth of public fund’’ intended for national pandemic response of DOH.
Lacson, chairman of the Senate National Defense and Security committee, said ‘’the issue on the DOH’s management of pandemic response funds would definitely be taken up during the deliberations of the DOH’s 2022 budget, once the Senate starts the hearings before approving their budget.’’
‘’This is among the many other issues hounding the agency,’’ he added.
Lacson said he remembers that during Duque confirmation hearings at the Commission on Appointments (CA), ‘’I asked him some questions on DOH’s supply chain issues and what he intended to do to resolve those issues. He could not answer my questions satisfactorily, if at all.’
‘’Am I surprised that he did not even bother to research in spite of his obvious lack of knowledge on the importance of the supply chain in his department? What gives? It’s hubris,’’ he added.
‘’Sadly, the issues brought to light by the COA report, among others, shows that he doesn’t care about the health concerns of the people who he is supposed to serve,’’ he pointed out.