Sotto sees charges vs Duque, other PhilHealth execs over fund mess
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Sunday said that he is confident that Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III and other Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) officials will be formally charged over the alleged misuse of funds of the state health insurer.
In an interview over radio station DZBB, Sotto said that the Senate Committee of the Whole’s report has “strong findings” to prove that Duque, resigned PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales, and other officials are liable.
“Tingin ko lahat ng mga rekomendasyon namin na kasuhan nila ay mafa-filan nila talaga, both criminal charges at administrative cases,” Sotto said.
(I think all those in our recommendation will be charged criminally and administratively.)
The Senate panel’s findings read that Duque, Morales, resigned PhilHealth executive vice president and COO Arnel de Jesus, PhilHealth senior vice president (SVP) for fund management sector Renato Limsiaco, PhilHealth SVP for health financial policy sector Israel Francis Pargas be slapped with malversation and graft and corruption charges for their “improper” and “illegal” implementation of PhilHealth’s Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM).
The IRM is an emergency cash advance measure of PhilHealth to provide hospitals with a crisis fund to respond to natural disasters, calamities as well as other unexpected events.
Duque, however, decried the Senate panel recommendation, saying that the findings were “baseless.”
Asked if Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra will file the charges against Duque, despite knowing the the Health Secretary still has the President’s trust, Sotto replied: “Wala sa usapan yung pinagtitiwalaan o hindi (It’s not about trust.)
“Ang ineexpect ko ay pag nakita ng Pangulo yung mga punto namin, magbabago ang pananaw ng Pangulo,” Sotto said.
(I expect the President to change his perspective once he sees our findings.)
“Maaaring nagtitiwala pa rin siya pero merong mga bagay na dapat mong harapin na labag sa batas,” he added.
(You can still trust someone, but there are things against the law that you should face.)
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