Duque tells dialysis center owner, his godson, to face investigation

Raphael Bosano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 13 2019 08:06 PM

MANILA—Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday acknowledged that WellMed Dialysis Center co-owner Bryan Christopher Sy is his godson but that Duque did not know him prior to Sy's wedding.

"I really don't know Bryan Sy until I was invited by the father-in-law to become one of the sponsors in their wedding because he is married to the daughter of my former batchmate from the UST class of 1982, when I was chairman of the CSC (Civil Service Commission) in 2014," he said.

"Being a public figure I have many weddings and sponsorships. Wala naman akong crystal ball to find out na mag wawalang-hiya pala itong mga may-ari ng facilities na ito. I'm distraught about this."

After the controversy surfaced, Duque said Sy's father-in-law, his batchmate, contacted him to ask for help and advice. But he declined and said they must face the matter.

"Sinabi niya, he would like to ask for our advice. So sabi ko, wala akong magagawa diyan. Although he did try to say na ’yung whistleblowers talaga sila ’yung tiwali. Bakit hindi dinemanda kung talagang tiwali?" he said.

"I cannot help you, sabi ko sa kaniyang, ganoon. You just have to face the investigators. The President has already ordered for an investigation to proceed."

The secretary added that he finds it unjust for Sen. Panfilo Lacson to tweet and resurface an issue, which has long been dismissed by the Ombudsman and Supreme Court in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Duque said the issue was also cleared when he faced the Commission of Appointments as chairman of the CSC and later on as Health secretary in February 2018. 

"I don't know what their agenda is. They probably want President Duterte to yank me out or take me out. But we serve the pleasure of the President. We do our job as best as we can. All these positions, I never asked. It was the president who asked me to join him," he said. 

Letters of resignation from PhilHealth officials have been submitted to the Palace last June 11. 

Duque said the department will just have to wait for the Malacañang to release letters of acceptance by Friday. 

He also believes that issue will not pose a threat to the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Law, wherein PhilHealth is tasked to manage its funds.