Senators hit Duterte’s latest presidential ‘gimmick’ on Duque

Senators on Wednesday, August 25, dismissed as another “presidential pakulo”, or gimmick, the statement of President Duterte that he would not fire Health Secretary Francisco Duque III but would accept the latter’s voluntary resignation.

President Duterte and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (Malacañang photos)

“I don’t get it as most Filipinos won’t understand this latest presidential ‘pakulo.’ Most presidents all over the world would simply send a message to an appointee to file his letter of resignation and give him the opportunity to exit with dignity and grace,” Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said in a text message.

“That is the usual dramatics involved when the appointing power wants to spare a Cabinet member the humiliation of getting the boot. I really don’t get it,” he added.

For her part, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said it may be time for Duque to heed Duterte’s pronouncement as a signal.

“Maybe Sec. Duque can take this as a signal and offer to resign to give way to somebody more competent who can steer us out of this pandemic,” Hontiveros said.

“Ngunit sa pabago-bagong pahayag ni Presidente (But with the president’s ever-changing statements), it seems that he is only publicly giving the Secretary of Health a graceful exit,” she opined.

“Ang dami na ngang hindi matugunan nang maayos, pinaglalaruan pa nya ang isipan ng mamamayan (He has not resolved a lot of things properly, and yet he has the time to play on peoples’ minds.

Duterte has repeatedly said he would stand by Duque even if it would bring him down. Duque, on the other hand, said he has repeatedly offered to resign but was requested not to.

This was after the Commission on Audit (COA) found deficiencies on how the DOH handled its P67-billion COVID-19 response funds in 2020.