FIFTEEN senators have filed a resolution calling for the resignation of Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for alleged “failure of leadership, negligence, lack of foresight and inefficiency” in the battle against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

The proposed resolution, filed on April 16, said Duque’s failure led to “poor planning, delayed response, lack of transparency, and misguided and flip-flopping policies and measures” to address the outbreak.

Such policies have “endangered and continue to endanger the lives of healthcare professionals, other frontliners, and the Filipino people,” the proposed resolution states.

It was introduced by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, and Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, Imee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, Sherwin Gatchalian, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Manuel “Lito” Lapid, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Panfilo Lacson.

The proposed resolution noted that despite the mounting death toll among health professionals resulting in depleted and exhausted workforce, Duque refused to immediately allow graduates of medical schools to render medical services under special authorization.

They also said that Duque failed to put necessary precautionary measures to lessen the impact of Covid-19.

Angara, who has recovered from Covid-19, said the existing system cannot continue if the country wants to get rid of the virus.

“Whether he is removed or not, status quo cannot continue if we want to defeat the virus. Kailangan mas bibo ang liderato rito laban sa virus,” he said.

“We were late for testing. Contact tracing is almost non-existent. Hospitals are short of protective gear. We need to be better,” he added.

Duque was issued an ad interim appointment as Health Secretary in October 2017. His appointment was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments on February 9, 2018. (SunStar Philippines)