Duterte still trusts Duque despite PhilHealth rental issue – Palace
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III still enjoys the trust and confidence of President Rodrigo Duterte despite being charged with graft and plunder complaints about his alleged stock ownership of a building leased to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) in Pangasinan.
“Ang presumption is you’re innocent unless proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. I think the Secretary of Health still enjoys the trust and confidence of the President,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Duque was accused of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019), Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials (RA 6713), and Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder (RA 70800).
The complaint stemmed from Senator Panfilo Lacson’s exposè, which bared Duque’s supposed ownership of the Educational and Medical Development Corp. (EMDC) building being leased by PhilHealth in Dagupan City. Lacson said it is a clear case of conflict of interest.
Duque has denied Lacson’s allegation and said the lease contract already existed when he joined the family business.
He also reasoned out that he only became EMDC chief executive officer in 2015 – three years after PhilHealth started renting the space.
(Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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