'Mahirap magpalit ng heneral sa gitna ng laban': Robredo rejects quit call vs Duque

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 25 2020 10:18 AM

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MANILA — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III should stay at the helm of efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic despite an investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman into his alleged lapses, Vice President Leni Robredo said Thursday. 

"Mahirap iyong kalaban natin. All hands on deck dapat. Parang mahirap magpalit ng heneral habang nasa gitna ng laban," the vice president said in an ANC interview. 

(We are fighting a difficult enemy. All hands should be on deck. It's difficult to replace a general in the middle of this fight.) 

The Ombudsman is investigating Duque over allegedly overpriced coronavirus testing kits, delayed safety gear for medical workers, lapses in the death of health frontliners and the processing of their benefits, and "confusing" reporting of COVID-19 cases. 

"Naintindihan ko rin iyong pinanggalingan niya (Martires) na sa panahon ngayon trust is a currency, na 'pag ang tao hindi tumitiwala sa namumuno, mahirap hingiin ang kaniyang cooperation... That's why he is saying this investigation is very important because people need to trust DOH," said Robredo. 

(I understand where he is coming from: that at this time, trust is a currency, it will be difficult to ask for the people's cooperation if they do not trust their leaders.) 

Duque should be "open to criticism" and encourage the private sector to join the COVID-19 fight, she said. 

"Unless he does not want to listen, then it would be time for him to leave," she said.