Duterte still trusts Duque despite controversies – Panelo
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte still trusts Health Secretary Francisco Duque despite allegations of conflict of interest against the health chief due to his family’s dealings with government.
Duque’s family has reportedly bagged government contracts to supply medicine in public hospitals and likewise entered into a leasing agreement with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) in Pangasinan.
“As far as I know the President still trusts Health Secretary Duque,” Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo told reporters.
“He has responded to the questions on the issue of propriety so if there are complaints against him, an investigation will be undertaken and until such time that there is no definite finding of any act which is in violation of the law, the Secretary of Health still has the trusts and confidence of the President,” he added.
But when asked if an investigation is ongoing over allegations against Duque, Panelo said: “I’m sure. Because the President, when he receives any serious allegations, he does it.”
“That’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedure),” he further said.
The Inquirer earlier came out with a report saying Duque family-owned Doctors Pharmaceuticals Inc. (DPI) bagged two supply contracts from the Department of Health (DOH).
Senator Panfilo Lacson in a privilege speech on Monday said the first contract was for the procurement of Clozaphine worth P3.4 million, which was awarded to DPI on July 24, 2017. The contract took effect on September 13, 2017, and expired on November 13, 2017.
DPI’s second contract, Lacson also said, was awarded on December 8, 2016, and ended on December 31, 2017.
“Take note that Sec. Duque was appointed DOH Secretary in October of 2017,” Lacson said.
READ: Lacson: Officials stealing health funds deserve ‘super special suite in hell’
Duque, however, claimed that he had nothing to do with the contracts because he divested from the company in 2006.
Last month, Lacson disclosed that PhilHealth had entered into a lease agreement with another Duque family-owned firm, Educational and Medical Development Corp. (EMDC).
According to Lacson, documents would show that PhilHealth’s Region 1 office had rented a building owned by EMDC in Dagupan City from June 2012 to December 2018.
Duque, as health secretary, serves as ex-officio chairman of the PhilHealth board.
The DOH chief said he already quit as company president before assuming the Cabinet post. /kga
Duque firm bagged DOH contracts
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