Duque decries ‘baseless findings’ on Senate recommendation to file charges vs him
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee of the Whole “made baseless findings on mere allegations alone” when it recommended the filing of charges against him over the alleged misuse of funds in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Health Secretary Francisco Duque said Wednesday.
Duque made the remark during the joint hybrid hearing of the House committee on public accounts and committee on good government and public accountability, one day after the Senate Committee of the Whole made public its report.
On Tuesday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the committee is recommending the filing of malversation and graft and corruption charges against Duque and several other top-ranking officials of PhilHealth over the alleged “improper” and “illegal” implementation of the interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM).
Sotto said the charges should be filed against them because of “their grave abuse of discretion or gross negligence in ascertaining the IRM beneficiary without valid criteria for distribution.”
But Duque disagreed, calling the findings “baseless.”
“The Senate committee made baseless findings on mere allegations alone. I was impleaded on the IRM (interim reimbursement mechanism) when I was not even part of the deliberation and did not sign the said resolution,” Duque said in the House hearing.
“Ni anino nung aking pirma ay hindi makita,” the health secretary added.
In an earlier statement, Duque tagged as “unfortunate” the said Senate recommendation, saying he intends to “clear my name.”
“This is not the best time for the Executive to have a difference with the Legislative branch, but two weeks ago I went to the Senate to shed light on the issues based on my personal knowledge,” Duque said.
“As I have previously stated, I will cooperate with any inquiry on the matter by the concerned government agencies. Certainly, I intend to clear my name,” he added.
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