‘Et tu Brute’
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - April 20, 2020 - 12:00am

The immediate response of the President telling DOH Secretary Francisco Duque to stay put was an act equivalent to throwing a drum of water on a very small fire. It was a swift and more than sufficient way of telling the Senators I know what you are up to and I will not tolerate it. For starters, the one thing we don’t want and we don’t need is to replace or resign the person leading the fight against Covid-19 in the Philippines. The fact that the media did not play up the story nor did the health community chime in, already says that we are all in this battle as one. It’s not a slogan it is our war cry.

I confess that Secretary Duque is a friend but that has not stopped me from disagreeing with some of his ideas or decisions. But in the war of our lives even we in the media, have individually and collectively put our shoulders to the campaign that is being waged by the government, the health community and the private sector. We have cooperated and given deference to health experts because they are and we are not. Our job is to help and we do that by reporting, sharing information and in these times of great loss and despair bringing hope. The Senate’s call for Duque to resign was a serious error of judgment and timing.

This is not a basketball game and Duque is not a Captain ball. That analogy is so full of errors in many ways because more than 20 plus doctors have died, not to mention nurses, police officers as well as over 500 patients. You don’t die in a basketball game. Even as a figure of speech it was inappropriate and disrespectful to all Filipinos.

By his own words, Duque has admitted he could have done better, but that does not make him deserving of all the accusations that Senators and Congressmen have been hurling at him. They say he acted too slow in calling a travel ban to and from Wuhan or China. They say he lacked in leadership, and on and on and on. I remember that Senator Lacson and associates said these very same things in a Congressional hearing months ago! Do you mean to tell us that you people are still dwelling in the past and using the same accusations instead of moving forward?

The truth of the matter is that Secretary Duque is simply the convenient donkey that the Senators and Congressmen are pinning their tail of blame upon. Why not pin it on the elephant in the room; President Rodrigo Duterte? They won’t because they are scared of PRRD, plain and simple! I don’t mean to start a fight here or a blame game, but here in the Philippines especially in the Executive department, nobody “farts” unless the President says so. Since time immemorial, politics in the Philippines has been based on the say so or wishes of the President, in peacetime, war, or Covid-19.

So who is Secretary Duque to shut out China or Wuhan without the say so of President Duterte, especially when PRRD said, “China has been kind to us”. The DOH may be the lead agency in the war against Covid-19 but it is the President who makes the final decision, the same way he alone will decide if the government will lift the ECQ, extend it or modify it. It has never been the call of Secretary Duque. Senator Lacson accuses Duque of “Lack of leadership”. How do you lead a fight against an unseen enemy, against whom the richest, most powerful 20 nations in the world have found themselves spending the first month counting infections and dead bodies. Not enough medical supplies? What hole have you Covidiots been hiding in? No nation in the world with the exception of the world’s factory; China, has enough supplies, enough information, enough people, enough facilities in order to have a legitimate and rational strategy to fight against Covid-19.

We first thought that it was just a stronger form of the flu. Now we know it’s 10 times more lethal than the flu. We thought it spread through droplets, that you would be safe from 2 meters and that after 14 days you would be ok. But now all the “science” has been tossed out the window. Now its aerosolized, safe distance is 10 meters, we’ve stayed in doors for 30 days but there are Asymptomatic persons who have the virus and we can’t tell what the latency period is. I picked up information that the recovery from Covid-19 is not just a few days but could stretch to 4 weeks and out of South Korea, they are now investigating suspected reinfection cases or false negatives. In other words, just when we were beginning to learn the rules of the game, Covid-19 changed all of it because it mutates and because China did not share all the science that would have been helpful at this stage.

Yes it was good that President Duterte immediately quelled the misguided call of the Senators for Secretary Duque to resign because if he had allowed it, some over ambitious witch doctor might have grabbed the post and would be loyal to the Senators and not to the republic. Worst of all, if the Senators got away with pushing Duque out of the DOH and the war against Covid-19, chances are they would eventually attempt to pin the blame of Covid-19 in the country on no less than President Rodrigo Duterte. If he has the chance I encourage PRRD to re-read Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar” just to be sure he won’t end up saying “Et Tu Brute?”

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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