Pangilinan hits Duque’s exemption from raps in PhilHealth mess
MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has joined the roster of the “corrupt and incompetent untouchables” under the Duterte administration, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Tuesday.
“Duque being unpunished is no longer surprising,” Pangilinan said in a message to reporters.
According to the senator, Duque is right in the league of former Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon, former BOC commissioner Isidro Lapeña, former National Food Authority Jason Aquino and former Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde, who have all been implicated in alleged irregularities in their respective agencies in the past.
“And now, Duque in PhilHealth. The list of corrupt and incompetent untouchables under this Administration is getting longer,” said Pangilinan. “Condoning corruption, illegality and incompetence will only lead to more corruption and incompetence.”
Earlier, the multi-agency task force multi-agency task force created to probe Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) recommended the filing of charges against former CEO Ricardo Morales and several other officials over alleged anomalies in the state insurer.
But the filing of charges against Duque, who the Senate Committee of the Whole wants sued over the “illegal” release of billions of funds through PhilHealth’s interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM), was not included in the recommendation of the task-force led by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Duque, who serves as PhilHealth board’s ex-officio chairman, has already dismissed the Senate committee’s findings as “baseless.”
The health chief said he was implicated with the IRM fund distribution when he “was not even part of the deliberation and did not sign the said resolution” that authorized it.
President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, has expressed his continued trust and confidence to Duque despite the allegations against him.
Meanwhile, Senator Sonny Angara thanked the President and the DOJ-led task force “for acting swiftly” in investigating alleged anomalies within PhilHealth.
“[We] hope the law enforcement and prosecutorial arms of the government take over and move these cases forward to exact accountability from those involved,” Angara said in a separate message.
“Both the legislative and executive branches of government have found reason to go after these individuals. Hopefully the other agencies of government can now act with the same sense of urgency here,” he added.
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