'I have full trust in you': Duterte again backs Duque against critics, corruption allegations
(Philstar.com) - September 7, 2020 - 9:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday renewed his support for his health chief, who had been facing resignation calls due to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and amid allegations that he was involved in massive corruption at state-insurer PhilHealth.

In a televised address, Duterte absolved Health Secretary Francisco Duque III's from corruption allegations and urged him to ignore calls for his resignation. 

"Secretary Duque, this is not the time for you to resign. I've heard stories about you are going to resign, I have full trust in you," Duterte said.

"Ang akin lang naman yung corruption, wala ka doon... There's an investigation going on, let it be. If you are not guilty of corruption, ang kalaban ko lang ho yung corruption," he added.

Since the outbreak erupted into pandemic proportions in March, Duque has been criticized for the government's slow response to the health crisis and alleged lack of foresight.

Adding to Duque's growing problems are allegations linking him to a massive corruption scandal at PhilHealth. After a marathon of hearings, the Senate earlier Monday adopted a report recommending the filing of complaints against Duque, former PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales, and other PhilHealth executives.

In the same address on Monday night, Duque took the opportunity to share his "frustrations" with Duterte.

"I have to express my frustrations, sir, I hope you dont mind. 'Yong mga pumirma, hindi sila ni-recommend for the filing of cases. Pero 'yong mga hindi pumirma, yun lang ang idinawit. Parang bakit naman ganon, height of injustice, unfairness," the health chief told Duterte.

"'Yon sir ang di ko matanggap sa dibdib ko hindi ako nakakatulog dahil dito," he added. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

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