Duque admits corruption, ‘syndicate’ within PhilHealth
MANILA, Philippines— Health Secretary Francisco Duque III himself admitted on Tuesday that there might be a syndicate involved in the alleged widespread corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Senator Imee Marcos asked Duque point-blank during Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate whether there was indeed corruption within the agency,
“Meron yan. Malamang meron yan…” the health chief said.
And when Marcos asked again who could be involved in these corrupt activities within Philhealth, Duque said: “Probably this is a parang sindikato yan (like a syndicate) or a web of people who are behind these nefarious activities from the hospitals…”
“Inaamin ninyo may sindikato dyan sa Philhealth? (You admit there is a syndicate in Philhealth?)” the senator further asked.
“It’s possible na mayrong mga ganun na nakikipag kutsaba…(It’s possible there are those who are conspiring…)” Duque said.
The health chief though could not give a categorical answer when Marcos asked whether PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales, who is on medical leave, is involved in the said syndicate.
Instead, Duque pointed out that Morales has been in his post for just a year and must deliver on his promised reforms for the embattled Philhealth.
“Madali pong mag speculate pero dapat yung evidence yung data ay makita nating direktamenting kinalaman ito dito sa mga katiwalian na nabanggit ninyo,” he said.
(It’s easy to speculate but the evidence, the data must show direct involvement in the said irregularities you mentioned)
“Wala po akong alam na ebidensya na inuugnay si General Morales direktamente doon sa mga naturang fraudulent claims.”
(I don’t know any evidence directly linking General Morales to the said fraudulent claims)
But when Marcos asked about possible “indirect” involvement of Morales, Duque said he could not answer the question as he has yet to scrutinize documents and data that would link the PhilHealth chief to corruption.
Duque also used the opportunity to propose to Congress a “stable” term of office for the top post in PhilHealth “to ensure continuity so as not to disrupt the learning curve.”
“Kasi ngayon every budget hearing, every year nagbabago ang presidente ng PhilHealth e. So from that policy standpoint, it might be good to bring back the longer term of office para may stability at magkaroon talaga ng resulta yung mga pagbabagong kanyang ibig isagawa,” the health chief added.
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