The Philippines: Duque-Locsin rift reaches Duterte – Palace

  • The infighting between two Cabinet members on the alleged botched 50-million syringe deal has reached President Duterte, Malacañang said.
  • Acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said the matter was not discussed during Duterte’s weekly meeting with members of his Cabinet and the government’s pandemic task force.
  • “But this matter has reached the Office of the President and you can expect, we will have updates and will also clarify all this next time,” Nograles said at a media briefing.
  • Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III were trading barbs after Locsin said the Department of Health (DOH) “dropped the ball” on a 50-million syringe procurement deal.
  • “We dropped the ball again; this time, offer of 50 million syringes,” Locsin said in a tweet on 11 Dec 21.
  • “Discussed the need in Washington DC and got a response. [I] prepared to go into details with [Philippine] agencies, but they refused to discuss the ball, let alone catch it. First Pfizer, then Moderna. Ok, I see the pattern,” he said.
  • Duque said Locsin’s allegation is a “lie.” Locsin lashed back at Duque and said, “Don’t ever, Duque, ever, question my motives.” Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country has a sufficient supply of syringes.

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