Duque 'not yet off the hook' in PhilHealth probe: anti-corruption body

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 16 2020 08:34 AM | Updated as of Sep 16 2020 10:50 AM

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III speaks during the National Task Force (NTF) Coordinated Operation to Defeat Epidemic team visit and the “Mask Para sa Masa” program launch at the Don Alejandro Roces Science High School in Quezon City on August 29, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque is "not yet off the hook" as President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-corruption body continues its investigation into alleged corruption in PhilHealth, an official said Wednesday.

A task force formed to look into anomalies in PhilHealth earlier submitted its report to Duterte, recommending the filing of graft charges against former and current officials of the state insurance firm. The list did not include Duque, who as health chief sits as chairperson of the state insurance firm's board.

The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, a member of the task force, continues to look into issues in PhilHealth, according to commissioner Greco Belgica.

"Secretary Duque is not yet off the hook. A thorough investigation and determination of liabilities is being done in the entire PhilHealth. We’re also helping address the systemic problems in PhilHealth," he told ANC.

"Being head of the board, everyone's a suspect already because what you did and did not do can be held against you."

The PACC only finished its investigation into PhilHealth's interim reimbursement mechanism which were questioned for the release of COVID-19 funds to non-coronavirus medical facilities.

"We were only given 30 days. 30 days is not enough to investigate and finish. We were able to pick an issue that we know we can finish in 30 days and we know that was the IRM," he said.

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Rodolfo del Rosario Jr, former PhilHealth senior vice president for the legal sector, is also "not off the hook" despite his not being included in the list, according to Belgica.

"He is not off the hook...marami ang cases na nilagay sa kanya that we have to look into," he said.

The PACC has recommended the filing of charges against 8 top officials of the state insurance firm and also submitted 16 names to Task Force PhilHealth led by the justice department, Belgica said.

The anti-corruption body is also investigating two groups of officials in PhilHealth earlier tagged as "mafia," he added.

"They are all being investigated, from both camps. Even the President read the names of those involved," he said.

"Even if there is a real mafia in PhilHealth, I don’t think any mafia wills survive this presidency and administration. They will all be broken down and charges will be filed against them."