Gordon says evidence lacking vs Duque in PhilHealth mess


Posted at Sep 02 2020 09:23 AM | Updated as of Sep 02 2020 09:54 AM

Gordon says evidence lacking vs Duque in PhilHealth mess 1
Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III speaks at an event in Quezon City on Aug. 29, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Sen. Richard Gordon said Wednesday a Senate inquiry into the alleged corruption inside the state medical insurer did not find enough evidence for the filing of criminal charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, contrary to a committee report.

The Senate Committee of the Whole on Tuesday recommended malversation and graft charges against Duque and other officials for PhilHealth's interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) that released funds to supposedly favored hospitals.

Gordon said he supported the committee's report “with reservations,” particularly on the recommended charges against Duque, who is chairman of the PhilHealth board.

"I always want to be fair. It’s not popular to be seen as supporting Duque… [However], he was never there. He did not participate [in the IRM], he was absent," said Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

"If there are other things that they can charge him with, then they’ll have to come up with something. In my view, whenever I make accusations, I make sure that I have a piece of paper that supports it," he told ANC.

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Asked to clarify if there was enough evidence against Duque, Gordon said, "No."

"The man is totally besieged. He inherited a DOH that is actually a snake pit... There are certain people within PhilHealth that really favored certain hospitals," said the lawmaker.

The alleged mafia involved in fraud in PhilHealth is “composed of regional vice presidents all over the country and people in the upper echelons,” he said.

Gordon said he would make a manifestation on the Senate floor later Wednesday about his reservations on the proposed charges against Duque.