MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said it was grateful that President Rodrigo Duterte continues to trust Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and was spared from PhilHealth officials facing charges for alleged corrupt practices.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa ating Pangulo na nabigyan ng ganitong trust ang ating Secretary of Health. As we always say, mahirap magpalit ng liderato kapagka nasa gitna na po tayo ng ating sitwayon dito sa pandemic,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.
(We thank the President for trusting the Secretary of Health. As we always say, it’s hard to change leadership in the middle of a pandemic.)
“We welcome it. We are very grateful. Hopefully from hereon, we can continue to work and mas panatag ang ating pagtatrabaho dahil nagkaroon tayo ng ganitong welcome development sa ating issues (and we can work with ease now that we have this welcome development),” she added.
An inter-agency task force created on the President's orders had recommended the filing of charges against former Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) president and CEO Ricardo Morales and other officials following an investigation on alleged corruption at the agency. Duterte approved the filing of charges.
But Malacañang also said it does not mean that Duque is already off the hook.
Despite this, Vergeire said, “Lagi naman sinasabi ni Secretary Duque na bukas 'yung tanggapan namin pati and Philhealth sa anumang imbestigasyon na gagawin para malaman natin ang totoo.”
(As Secretary Duque always says, our agency and the PhilHealth is open to any investigation so we can learn the truth.)
Vergeire said Duque “supports this kind of move” and that sanctions should be given to officials who would be found violating laws once proven in a “proper court of law.”