MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is liable for the alleged irregular release of PhilHealth's COVID-19 funds under the principle of command responsibility, a senator said Wednesday.
The Senate Committee of the Whole earlier recommended the filing of malversation and graft against Duque and several former and incumbent PhilHealth officials for the "improper and illegal implementation" of the agency's interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM).
Duque has the "institutional memory" of PhilHealth, having sat or headed its board or served as president in nearly 2 decades, according to Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
"Nung nagkaroon ng problema sa implementasyon ng IRM, in position of responsibility na doon si Secretary Duque and therefore would be responsible under the principle of command responsibility," she told ANC.
(When problems occurred in the implementation of IRM, Secretary Duque was in a position of responsibility and therefore would be responsible under the principle of command responsibility.)
Duque must prove in court his denial that he was the "godfather" of an alleged "mafia" in PhilHealth, Hontiveros said.
"Dapat siya ang pinaka-makapagshed (He should shed the) light on the existence of any and all mafias within the PhilHealth and mafia-like activities conducted by them in order to dismantle them," she said.
Duque had said he would cooperate on investigations into the state insurance firm.
"As I have previously stated, I will cooperate with any inquiry on the matter by the concerned government agencies. Certainly, I intend to clear my name," he said, in response to the Senate's recommendation of filing criminal charges against him and other officials in the state health insurer.