MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday reiterated that he still trusts Health Sec. Francisco Duque III despite continuing calls for his resignation.
According to Duterte, it is not yet time for Duque to resign because he believes that the latter did not do anything wrong.
"Secretary Duque, this is not the right time for you to resign. Hindi pa panahon magresign. (It's not yet the time to resign.) I have heard stories about you that you are going to resign. I have full trust in you," he told Duque during their weekly televised meeting.
"Ang akin lang naman diyan 'yung corruption. Wala ka doon sa ano, tinignan namin 'yung papel. Unless there is a specific finding sa batas, sabihin mo lang sa akin," Duterte added.
(What I am concerned with is corruption. You are not involved, we checked the report. Unless there is a specific finding in the law, then just tell me.)
Duterte also said he understands Duque's situation, since he is in charge of a big agency.
"Let us see doon sa negligence mo, but you know, if you handle a big organization, I had a chance when I became mayor and then president, talagang mane-negligent ka kasi hindi mo mahabol minsan eh...These are the things that, sabi ko, that one don't really matter to me. What matters is 'yung corruption," he said.
(Let's see if you were negligent, but if you handle a big organization, I had a chance when I became mayor and then president, you might be negligent because you cannot go after everyone. These are the things that don't matter to me. What matters is the corruption.)
"Kung hindi ka corrupt (If you are not corrupt), wala ka namang, you don't have any reason to resign," Duterte added.
Senators earlier recommended the filing of graft and malversation charges against Duque, resigned PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales, and other executive officers of the insurance agency over alleged anomalous transactions in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth).
Duque has repeatedly been defended by the President from critics. Earlier this year, the President also rejected calls of senators demanding the resignation of Duque over his supposed failure of leadership over the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duque has also said command responsibility of PhilHealth did not rest in him, but rather its president and CEO, after senators backed the filing of criminal charges against both of them over alleged anomalies at the state medical insurer.