Despite 'ball dropping' allegation, Locsin opposes call for Duque resignation

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2020 05:57 PM

Despite 'ball dropping' allegation, Locsin opposes call for Duque resignation 1
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III during a Senate hearing on preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic, February 4, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. does not agree with Sen. Manny Pacquiao urging President Rodrigo Duterte to sack Health Secretary Francisco Duque III over the alleged mishandling of a vaccine procurement deal with Pfizer.

Duque was accused of failing to submit documents needed for the Philippines to receive by January the vaccines manufactured by Pfizer. He had denied "dropping the ball" in the supposed deal.

"Sayang. Dapat this January, may vaccine na tayo, yung Pfizer. But masasabi natin na talagang kapalpakan yan ng ating DOH (Department of Health), si Secretary Duque," Pacquiao told ANC's Headstart.

But for Locsin, the one who exposed the "foiled" deal along with Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez, letting Duque go is not an option.

"I don't agree. I didn't agree during PhilHealth investigation; I don't agree now. Change Duque and the whole anti-Covid machinery of government will grind to a halt as the replacement replaces everyone already in place with 9 months of experience of good and bad moves," Locsin said in a tweet.

Locsin was referring to the previous calls to fire Duque over his alleged failure to address rampant corruption in PhilHealth, where he serves as board chairman.

Romualdez had urged the public to "move on" from the botched Pfizer deal and focus on a possible deal with US biotech firm Moderna, which he said the Philippines was already in advanced talks with in terms of supplying vaccine to the country.

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