General Admission

Duque, like Lapu-Lapu, is our first front liner  

By Al S. Mendoza


IT was a below-the-belt blow.

Why would some of our senators even call for the resignation of Francisco Duque III at all?

We are presently battling the most vicious virus ever in this century. 

No room for petty squabbling, please?

The world is at war against a “terrorist” that is not two-legged, that is bereft of a nuclear missile and that is not seen by the naked eye.

More than 200 countries are suffering from this atrocious assault to mankind.

Already, it has downed more than one million defenseless victims and killed more than 637,000 unarmed, innocent civilians worldwide.

In the Philippines alone, more than 5,667 of our compatriots are fighting for their lives as of this writing (Friday, 17 April), with nearly 400 succumbing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The sad thing is, there is no cure yet in sight. 

And here we are, asking for the head of the very person supposed to lead us out of the woods.  Unfair.  Insane.

Since January this year, Duque has been in the forefront in battling the virus.

Truth to tell, he was the first front liner ever to step forward to bravely face the enemy.

In the early days of January, Duque, upon getting wind of the virus’ discovery in Hubei Province, China, on December 17, 2019, stopped Filipinos from traveling to Wuhan, Hubei’s capital city of 11 million.

It was in Wuhan where the first outbreak of the virus infection was reported.

By late January, Duque also imposed a travel ban for Filipinos intending to visit tourist spots in virus-hit South Korea, including the famed Jeng Du Island.

Thus, if there’s one front liner who should be put on a pedestal for his heroic stance in the war against the unseen invader early on, that’d be Duque.

If Lapu-Lapu was the first Filipino revolutionary, having killed Magellan the first foreign invader in the famous Battle of Mactan, Duque stands out as the first front liner to engage the virus head-on.

Duque almost got felled by the virus, gallantly surviving the challenge by emerging from a self-imposed quarantine unscathed. 

Retreat in the night, rage against the dying of the light, rest your weary soul and creaking bones, and rise at the break of dawn to resume battle.

That has been Duque all this time: Relentless, unwavering, no surrender even in the face of death.

And now this, 14 senators demanding for Duque to resign.

But endowed with a purity of heart and noble intentions, Duque stood his ground.

He didn’t lose one single step, electing to keep his cool amid the unjust blows from the 14 lawmakers—not to include the broadminded and level-headed Senator Bong Go.

Thankfully, President Duterte sustained Duque, assuring the Health Secretary of his undiminished trust and confidence in his leadership.

Had the President bowed to the senators’ ill-will, it would have set a bad precedent.

We are in the midst of a health crisis and this is no time to engage in blame-game. 

Work as one and we heal as one.

Name me a leader who would change horses in mid-stream, as in Mr. Duterte deciding to replace Duque in this most crucial time when the nation reels from under a horrific threat?  Disaster.

Credit too to Duque’s fortitude and unbridled dignity that he did not succumb to mob mentality.

In the end, Duque became a role model.

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