Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Franciso Duque III has already informed President Rodrigo Duterte of his decision to resign.
His resignation as DOH secretary was triggered by the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) on supposed deficiencies in handling the P67.32 billion worth of Covid-19 response funds by the health agency.
He said over a radio interview that his only request is to “clear the CoA findings and observations” and then to “[enforce] the action plan.”
“And then I am leaving. The Palace knows that is my position,” Duque added partly in Filipino.
Duterte earlier said that he would never ask Duque to step down from. The president, however, said he would accept it if Duque will decide to step down, and that he would fire the DOH secretary if Duque is proven to have committed corruption.
While he is not blaming COA, Duterte expressed dismay that its audit report has tainted Duque’s reputation.
“The damage has already been done. Kasi nga, paglabas ng COA report, flagged, flagged, flagged (COA released a report that flagged [DOH]. Ang perception talaga ng tao (the public’s perception), the popular notion is that you are flagged because there’s corruption,” he earlier said.
He said COA should include in its findings “a sort of preamble” clarifying the audit report found no corruption.The COA later clarified that the observed deficiencies in the management of pandemic funds are not tantamount to the commission of corrupt activities.