Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said she sees no reason for DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III to resign or take a leave of absence just to give way for the Ombudsman’s investigation over the alleged anomalies in DOH’s COVID-19 response.
“Wala pa kaming nakikitang pangangailangan para siya ay magbitiw o di kaya ay temporarily tumigil muna sa trabaho para bigyang-daan ang imbestigasyon,” Vergeire told reporters in a virtual interview Friday.
(We don’t see any reason for him to resign or take a leave of absence to give way to the investigation.)
She said they respect Duque, and his presence gives his subordinates some confidence.
“Napakaimportante ho ng isang leader sa isang organisasyon. Kahit po nakaupo lang siya diyan pero kung siya ay nirerespeto at siya ay nakakapagbigay ng kumpiyansa para sa mga tauhan niya, sa tingin ko po kaya gumagaling ang mga tao sa ilalim niya,” Vergeire said.
(A leader is very important in an organization. Even though he is sitting there but if he is respected and he can provide confidence for his staff, I think the people under him will be well.)
“We have our full support to the Secretary, and we still think that he should be retained dito sa kaniyang posisyon [in his position],” she added.
Duterte, on numerous occasions, expressed his full support and confidence with Duque despite many senators previously filed a bill asking the Secretary to resign.
“The President has time and again expressed his continuing trust and confidence to Sec. Duque, and the President is confident that Sec. Duque can answer all the allegations being looked into by the Ombudsman,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian meanwhile said Duque should take a leave of absence to pave the way for the Office of the Ombudsman’s investigation.
Vergeire, on the other hand, said the undersecretaries need Duque’s leadership.
“Ang hiling para siya ay magbitaw dahil kaya naman ng undersecretaries, sana naiintindihan po ng mga tao kaya po nakakayanan ng mga undersecretaries ang aming trabaho dahil mayroon ho kaming leader na katulad ni Secretary Duque,” she said.