MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte might be wrong to presume that wealthy government officials like Health Secretary Francisco Duque III could not commit corruption, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Monday.
"I am very sure and I place my reputation on Secretary Duque, that he hasn’t stolen anything. He cannot do that. He cannot do that because Duque is already rich. He has a hospital, he has a school, he has everything… So, there’s nothing on that," Duterte said last week in Cebuano as he vouched for the integrity of the health chief.
Lacson, one of the senators who called earlier this year for the resignation of Duque over the latter's handling of the coronavirus response, however said that the President could be wrong.
"Ang isang comment lang dito, mawalang galang lang, parang mali yata ang presumption o theory na 'pag mayaman na ang tao, hindi magnanakaw," the senator said during a virtual press briefing.
(It might be a wrong presumption or theory that if a person is rich, he or she would no longer steal.)
"Di sang-ayon yata doon na 'pag ang isang tao 'pag sobrang dami ng bilyones, wala na siyang gagawin to further enrich himself. Parang hindi tama ang teorya," he added.
(It doesn't necessarily mean that because one has billions, he or she would no longer act to further enrich himself. The theory doesn't seem right.)
The senator however clarified that it is the decision of the President to keep or let go of his top officials.
"Hindi natin kinukwestyon ang prerogative ng Pangulo para i-retain at bigyan ng tiwala," he said.
(We are not questioning the President's prerogative to keep and trust an official.)