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No sufficient evidence yet to charge Duque over PhilHealth mess—DOJ chief

/ 02:25 PM September 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The multi-agency task force investigating the anomalies in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has yet to establish sufficient evidence to recommend the filing of charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Thursday.

The DOJ-led Task Force PhilHealth has recommended the filing of graft charges against several officials of the state insurance firm including its resigned President and CEO Ricardo Morales.

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But it only recommended “strong admonition” against Duque and other members of the PhilHealth board for “grave consequence” of their action or inaction on the state-run insurer’s funds.

Duque, as Secretary of Health, serves as chairman of the PhilHealth board.

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“Right now ang nakikita namin, ang hawak namin ay hindi pa talaga sufficient para masabi natin na may gross, inexcusable negligence on the part of Secretary Duque and members of the board,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a televised Palace press briefing.

But the Justice chief assured that Duterte’s repeated expression of trust and confidence on Duque despite his missteps in the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and corruption woes of PhilHealth did not affect the task force’s probe.

“As I’ve repeatedly said before, we will only go by the evidence presented before us. Kung meron kaming makita, so be it. Kung wala, wala. Pero kung meron, meron. Kung meron kami nakita against him we’ll include him and probably the rest of the board if needed,” he said.

Guevarra likewise advised Rodolfo Del Rosario, Jr., resigned PhilHealth senior vice president for legal, not to celebrate yet from being spared from the filing of charges as the investigation will now zero in on the firm’s legal sector.

“Inuna lang namin talaga ‘yung ICT procurement at saka IRM dahil ‘yun lang ang natapos namin within the 30 days. Pero actually nasimulan namin ‘yang legal sector din, hindi lang nacomplete kaya yan ang target namin for the next maybe one or two months, the legal sector,” the Justice Secretary said.

“So huwag muna siyang pakasisiguro,” he added, referring to Del Rosario, who according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque is already “celebrating” for his non-inclusion in the filing of charges.

/MUF
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TAGS: corruption, DoJ, Francisco Duque III, ICT procurement, IRM, Philhealth, Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte
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