Duque: I did not ‘ignore, neglect’ my duties as PhilHealth board chairman
MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday denied that he neglected his duties as ex-officio chairman of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) after he was excluded from the filing of charges liked to alleged anomalies in the state insurer’s fund.
“I did not ignore, neglect my duties and responsibilities as chairman of the board. It’s just that really the President has declared a state of public health of emergency…. I have been assigned or tasked to head the interagency task force (IATF),” Duque said in a press briefing Bida Disiplina program at Camp Crame, reacting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of the filing of charges against PhilHealth officials except Duque and PhilHealth senior vice president for legal sector Rodolfo del Rosario.
“I have to lead the entire IATF in not just crafting policies but also ensuring that the implementing bodies of the IATF would be able to achieve capacity building in areas of testing capacity, increasing the number of isolation and quarantine facilities,” he added.
Duque explained that it is impossible for him to attend all his committees, noting that he trusts his representatives to represent him.
“Panghuli, bilang chairman ng commissions, ng task forces, ng corporate boards, ng committees, mga 67 po ang tinututukan ng Secretary of Health, it is humanly impossible for me to attend to all of this. That is why I rely on my undersecretaries and assistant secretaries to represent me and I always trust them to their jobs in the best possible way,” the top health official said.
(Lastly, as the chairman of commissions, task forces, corporate boards, and committees I am looking into 67 of these… it is humanly impossible for me to attend to all of this. That is why I rely on my undersecretaries and assistant secretaries to represent me and I always trust them to their jobs in the best possible way)
On Monday, Duterte approved the recommendation of the PhilHealth task force, led by the Department of Justice, to file cases against former PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales, Senior Vice President Jovita Aragona, officer-in-charge Calixto Gabuya Jr., SVP Renato Limsiaco, SVP Israel Francis Pargas, COO Arnel de Jesus, and division chief Bobby Crisostomo for violating several provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Article 213 the Revised Penal Code.
However, this did not sit well with Senate President Vicente Sotto III, chair of Senate Committee of the Whole, who recommended the filing of charges against Duque and several other PhilHealth officers over the supposed questionable release of funds of the agency’s emergency cash aid for hospitals.
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