'No reason to prosecute': Duterte defends Duque anew on PhilHealth anomalies


Posted at Oct 05 2020 11:53 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte confers with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III while holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacañan Palace on March 9, 2020. Presidential Photo/File

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday again vouched for Health Secretary Francisco Duque III amid lingering accusations that the Cabinet official was allegedly involved in anomalies in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth). 

Duterte said that the PhilHealth scandal probe did not yield anything sufficient to charge Duque for the agency's corrupt practices, such as buying computers that were astonishingly overpriced.

"I have read the findings. For the life of me, I can't really find a good reason to prosecute an innocent man," he said in a public briefing aired late evening. 

An inter-agency task force created on the President's orders had recommended the filing of charges against former PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales and other officials following the investigation. Duterte approved the filing of charges. 

Duque was not included in the initial complaint, to the dismay of legislators who have been clamoring for his resignation and prosecution due to his alleged involvement in the anomalies in the state health insurer.

The Department of Health last week said it was grateful for Duterte's continuous trust in Duque. But Malacañang said it does not mean the health chief is already off the hook.

Earlier Monday, Justice Sec. Menardo Guevarra said more PhilHealth officials will face raps in the coming days in connection with the unlawful acts in the agency.

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