Drilon tells Duque: ‘Don’t pass the buck, assume full responsibility’

Published August 19, 2021, 12:39 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday urged Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to assume full responsibility for the supposed deficiencies in his agency’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic funds instead of blaming others for the Department of Health’s (DOH) problems.

“Certainly, blaming each other and pointing fingers at each other when the COVID-19 response is your primary responsibility does not speak well of the leadership. You should assume responsibility and do something about it,” Drilon said in an interview over ANC’s Headstart.

“I am sorry to tell Sec. Duque na hindi dapat ganon (don’t do that). Do not point fingers. See what the problem is and see what can be solved rather than pointing your fingers to the hospitals,” the minority leader stressed.

“The fact remains that our health workers have not received their special risk allowance,” he pointed out.

Duque earlier blamed private hospitals for the non-release of special risks allowance (SRA) for their healthcare workers, saying they are the ones who have the list of qualified recipients of the program.

During the Senate’s inquiry on Wednesday, the DOH and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) pointed fingers as to who should be responsible for the disbursement of allowances to frontliners.

The Senate hearing centered on the Commission on Audit’s (COA) report flagging the deficiencies in the way the DOH managed the P67.3-billion funds for its COVID-19 response.

While the President has the prerogative to decide whether or not Duque should stay in his post, Drilon said gross negligence is already a ground for disciplinary action under the country’s Civil Service rules.

“Well, certainly, gross negligence is a ground for disciplinary action under our Civil Service rules. A career employee who is negligent can be disciplined. But insofar as a cabinet member is concerned, whether a cabinet member remains, is a political decision on the part of the President,” Drilon pointed out.

“Nobody can compel the President to dismiss Sec. Duque. The continued stay of Sec. Duque in the cabinet is a matter of trust and confidence. The President is answerable to the Filipino people. That ultimately becomes an issue of the appointing power,” he stressed.