Lacson to Duque: Claiming ignorance not a valid defense
MANILA, Philippines — The claim of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III that he is no longer involved in the transaction between his family and Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is “not a valid defense,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said Thursday.
Lacson earlier revealed that the office of PhilHealth Region 1 was renting a building owned by Duque’s family under the name of the Educational and Medical Development Corporation.
However, Duque, who also serves as the ex-officio chairman of PhilHealth, claimed he does not know about the operations of the corporation, particularly with the leasing of property to PhilHealth, as he is no longer involved in the company ever since he was appointed Health Secretary in 2017.
“Sabi niya wala siyang kinalaman, hindi niya alam, ang kanyang family corporation nag-divest na siya,” Lacson said in an interview over DZRH.
“Kung hindi mo alam ibig sabihin inefficient ka. Hindi mo alam ang nangyayari lalo kung family corporation mo involved hindi depensa ang sabi mong hindi mo alam,” he added.
The senator added that according to documents, Duque remains to be a board member of the corporation with a corresponding number of shares.
Lacson also cited information that the regional office have proposed to find other locations for its office but the proposal was allegedly ignored by Duque.
“Katunayan meron ding information nagsasabi ilang beses nang gumawa ng proposal ang Regional Office 1 kung saan naghahanap sila ng ibang location within Region 1 na paglilipatan ng opisina, at ito ay binabalewala ni Sec. Duque sa kanilang board meetings. Pinatanggal sa agenda,” Lacson revealed.
Duque denied that there is a conflict of interest in the current arrangement between PhilHealth and his family’s corporation as he stepped down as president and chief executive officer of the company when he became Health chief.
“Dahil nasa DOH (Department of Health) na ako, hindi ako nakikialam doon sa university sa Dagupan, hindi ko na alam kung ano na ginagawa ng PhilHealth, kung naghahanap pa ba sila ng building o ng lote,” the Health Secretary earlier said in a phone interview with INQUIRER.net. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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