Pangilinan: P15B PhilHealth scandal further warrants Duque’s removal from post
MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Wednesday said that the P15-billion corruption scandal at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is another reason why Health Secretary Francisco Duque III should resign from his post.
The opposition senator was among a number of senators who sought for a Senate investigation on corruption in the state insurance company and he said in his Senate Resolution 474 that those responsible for the scandal must be held accountable.
“Maawa naman sana sila sa ating mga kababayan. Maawa sila sa taumbayan. Palitan na po si Duque bilang DOH secretary at IATF head. Maghanap ng mas mayroong kakayahang sugpuin ang kambal na sakit ng COVID at kurakot. Siya ang dating presidente at ngayon ay chairman of the board ng PhilHealth. Hindi pwedeng wala siyang pananagutan sa P15-bilyong iskandalong ‘yan,” said Pangilinan in a statement.
(Let’s have mercy on our countrymen. Let’s kick Duque out as the Department of Health Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force head. Let’s find someone who has the capabilities of defeating this twin sickness of COVID-19 and corruption. He’s the former president and now chairman of the board of PhilHealth. He should be held accountable in that P15-billion scandal.)
Pangilinan even likened the COVID-19 pandemic to World War II and that the failure to properly address the health situation is criminal.
“Itong pandemya ay singtindi ng World War II. Kriminal ang kapabayaan sa gitna ng ganitong kalalang krisis na may ‘crime of the year’ pa sa mismong ahensya na nagsisiguro ng kaligtasan at kalusugan nating lahat,” said Pangilinan.
(This pandemic is as bad as World War II. It’s a crime how one failed to handle this type of crisis and there’s even the “crime of the year” in the same agency that’s there to ensure the safety and health of all of us.)
Resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud legal officer Thorsson Montes Keith revealed in a Senate hearing on Tuesday that about P15 billion have been stolen from the government corporation.
“Dapat may makulong sa pagkawala ng P15 billion. Hindi yan tingi-tinging kendi o yosi sa kanto. Bilyon-bilyon yan. Dapat nilang isoli ang ninakaw,” said Pangilinan.
(Someone should be imprisoned for the disappearance of P15 billion. That’s not a few pieces of candy or cigarettes, those are billions. Whatever’s stolen should be returned.)
Panglinan also stressed the position that he made last week about his no vote for Bayanihan Act 2, saying that the government will continue to lose billions under the failure of leadership of Duque.
“Ang problema ay COVID. Ang problema ay sakit. Kung patuloy sa ganyan pa ring kalakaran at pamumuno, patuloy pa rin ang magkakasakit at mamamatay sa COVID, patuloy pa ring maghihingalo ang ekonomiya.”
(The problem is COVID-19. If this kind of trade and leadership continues, then the cases and deaths related to COVID-19 will continue. The economy’s recession will continue.)
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