'Let Duque do his job,' Palace says after health chief draws flak for COVID-19 statement

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2020 03:25 PM

'Let Duque do his job,' Palace says after health chief draws flak for COVID-19 statement 1
President Rodrigo Duterte confers with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III while holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacañan Palace on March 9, 2020. Presidential Photo

MANILA- Malacañang stood by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Friday, saying the health chief should be allowed to do his job "in this challenging time" after he drew flak for his remarks on the status of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

"Secretary Duque will answer allegations in the proper forum but for now, let us allow him to do his job during this global health emergency," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.

Duque came under fire for saying that the Philippines was already experiencing a second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, a statement that was denied by Malacañang. 

The Department of Health also said that the country has yet to see a second wave of infections.

Roque said the health chief serves at the pleasure of the appointing authority--President Rodrigo Duterte--who also rejected calls for Duque's resignation last month.

Following calls for his resignation last month, Duque said he would answer allegations against him "in due time."

"I will continue to serve the country to the best of my abilities...We will answer these allegations in due time, but right now, we will continue to be in the trenches with our health care workers and frontliners," he said in April.