Press Release
August 14, 2021

Dispatch from Crame No. 1122:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on Sec. Duque's refusal to resign

Sec. Duque's refusal to resign despite calls from concerned sectors for him to do so, and in the face of the failures of the government's COVID-19 response plans, saying that it is up to Duterte who appointed him, only highlights what the real problem is and has always been: their first loyalty is to themselves and to their cabal of patrons, cronies and minion; the public interest doesn't even come into the equation.

Of course, no one expects a public servant to resign just because some people call for him to do so. But the least that such public servant ought to do so is hold himself accountable to the public, to the people that he serves. Duterte is not his king; it is to the Filipino people that he owes first and foremost loyalty and accountability.

The mentality that he would refuse to yield until Duterte asks him to is the mentality of a patronage politics. Accomplishing goals, serving the public interest, saving and preserving people's lives should have been his first defense; not a recourse to the blunt weapon that is Duterte's tyranny.

I long for the day when a system of honor, meritocracy and accountability in government service, which our Constitution and laws have mandated and are supposed to uphold, are again the norm. I long for the day when only the deserving, based on their performance and track record, are entrusted with the solemn responsibility and authority that could spell the difference between Filipino lives being saved and being lost. I long for the day when the likes of Duterte and his cronies and minions no longer cling to power for the sake of power.

I pray that the day is soon, before more lives are lost.

And I know Filipinos pray for the same.

Filipinos want action, not curses, jokes and lame excuses. They want to live and for their loved ones to remain safe. They want their livelihood to recover and for the national economy to once again thrive as it did under the PNoy Administration. For those reasons, I believe the day to regain dignity and responsibility in public service will come in less than a year's time. When the likes of Sec. Duque will finally realize that they are answerable to the People, not to a Tyrant.

(Access the handwritten version, here:

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