I am my brother’s keeper

By Gonzalo Duque 


I CITED Barangay Captain Sidney Lomboy of Tapuac as a different breed of barangay captain in my last week’s column. I was proud of him. However, I inadvertently omitted to cite others who also received commendations for their outstanding performances as barangay captains, particularly, one special barangay captain.

I almost forgot to cite a barangay captain whom I admire most and continue to admire today. She is no other than Barangay Captain Julita Perez whose outstanding performance enabled Barangay Pantal to bag the coveted Seal of Good Local Governance for Barangays.

That award meant a lot for Barangay Pantal and Dagupan City. Pantal is not the only SGLGB recipient in the entire province of Pangasinan but in Region 1.  Applause for Barangay Pantal! And a salute for Kap Julie for making the barangay proud!

To me, Julie (and Sidney) are two of only few kapitans in Dagupan worthy to be promoted to a higher office. In fact,   Julie should consider running for the city council in 2025 because we need performers, not obstructionists, in the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

We need real performers in the molds of Kapitana Julie and Kapitan Sidney. We do not need people who constantly obstruct the good programs and projects meant to improve lives of Dagupeños.

With Julie’s dedication and performance, she’ll surely help make Dagupan City take centerstage in the country in no time.

FYI, Pantal is the only barangay in Dagupan City that received the SGLGB but there were eight other barangays in Pangasinan that received this award and the best among them is Barangay Pantal.

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I would like to assure the public that my brother, Dr. Francisco T. Duque III is not guilty of anything. As he prepares to embark on his defense in the latest challenge of which he’s undergoing, I can vouch that he’s innocent and can easily acquit himself.

Senator Dick Gordon himself, in an interview by ANC, admitted that my brother had no direct participation in the Pharmally scandal, Dick was the chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that thoroughly investigated the Pharmally deal.

Looking at my brother’s pleadings in this case, I am very confident that he will acquit himself resolutely and with flying colors. 

Those who know Pingcoy well, know where he’s coming from. The balm of clear conscience will be his greatest anchor as he has served the public well during its most trying times when the country was hit by Covid-19 pandemic, when people were dying by the hundreds daily. 

His unblemished records in public service, having served as a former PhilHealth director, DOH Health Undersecretary, Civil Service Commission chairman and the GSIS chairman, before finally being appointed as DOH secretary can very well attest his good character. 

I did not expect him to respond well to the challenge posed by the pandemic because of the magnitude of work put on his shoulders. But together with all the indefatigable workers of the DOH down to the last unit, including volunteers from the local government units, the Philippines was finally freed from the shackles of the pandemic, the first in Asia to do so.

I think his only reward was he was always upheld by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte in those trying times when his critics were demanding for his resignation because people were dying in mass because of COVID-19 that the world knew little about.

He was commended by the World Health Organization as an outstanding performer during the pandemic and whose department (DOH) was also cited for its outstanding performance, also during the pandemic.

My thought on the matter? My brother was just caught in the intramural between two opposing forces – the Duterte camp and the Marcos camp. Need I elaborate? 

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