Ombudsman asked to subpoena Duque, brother for PhilHealth rental mess
MANILA, Philippines — Petitioners who filed graft and plunder complaints against Health Secretary Francisco Duque have also asked the Ombudsman to issue a subpoena for him and his brother for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) rental issue.
In a motion filed last July 5, the complainants also asked the Office of the Ombudsman to summon Duque and his brother, Social Security Services (SSS) Commissioner and lawyer Gonzalo Duque, and ask them to produce their Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) and Personal Data Sheets (PDS).
Duque is accused of committing plunder for allowing the PhilHealth office in Pangasinan to rent a property belonging to his family. Duque was then PhilHealth’s ex-officio chair as DOH secretary.
The complaints were based on revelations made by Senator Panfilo Lacson, who claimed that Duque and his family owns the Educational and Medical Development Corp. (EDMC) building where PhilHealth’s Office in Dagupan City, Pangasinan is located.
The health executive chief said he already resigned from his post at EDMC when the property was rented to PhilHealth, but the petitioners claimed that Duque has yet to divest his shares with the company at the time.
According to the petitioners — who were the parents of children supposedly victimized by the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia — said that Duque’s brother Gonzalo was included as respondent in their complaint after investigation showed that he acted as a representative of the SSS at PhilHealth’s Board of Directors.
“Not only that, but the information also reached us that Atty. Gonzalo Duque already sat as one of the Board of Directors of PhilHealth even prior to his appointment as SSS Commissioner,” the complainants said in their motion.
“Considering the foregoing, Atty. Gonzalo Duque at that time was sitting as a Board of Director of PhilHealth, having failed to divest his substantial shares of EDMC to which PhilHealth had a contract of lease, may also be held liable for Republic Act 6713 otherwise known as the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees,” they added.
Previously, Duque said he wouldn’t resign as health secretary amid Lacson’s exposé. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also insisted that President Rodrigo Duterte still has trust and confidence in his health chief despite the issues hounding him. /ee
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.