By Vanne Elainte Terrazola
Senator Richard Gordon on Monday said the Department of Health (DOH) needs an overhaul of its ranks — and not just the replacement of its head — to finally rid the agency of issues and allegations of corruption.
Gordon made the proposition as he maintained his theory that some individuals maybe targeting the post of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in calling for his resignation.
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman said he based his belief on his previous investigations of the controversies hounding the Department of Health (DOH).
“At talagang ang daming umaaligid (And there are really those who are eyeing the positions). Makita mo maging sa Philhealth, palit nang palit — isang taon lang palit na — that means marami talagang may gustong makapasok dyan dahil maraming pera kasing nakalaan diyan. (You will see it in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., leaders kept changing — one year and then they’re out — that means many wanted to penetrate it because of the huge funds allocated to this agency),” Gordon said in an interview with radio DZBB.
Gordon claimed that “syndicates” have long been operating within the DOH and were responsible for the overpricing of medicines, among others.
“Kaya dapat bantayan yan at ang suggestion ko, i-overhaul ‘yan at kumuha muna ng talagang mag-aaral kung bakit ganyan. (That’s why this should be monitored and I suggest and overhaul, hire someone who would really look into why these things happen),” he said.
“Sapagkat kung palit ka nang palit talagang walang continuity ang magyayari, siraan nang siraan, at kung mahina-hina ang Pangulo, makikinig at makikinig doon sa mga intriga. (Because if we just keep replacing officials then there would really be no continuity in the government’s health programs, and people will keep attacking people, and if the President is not strong enough, he will easily yield to those controversies),” he added.
Gordon advised those who oppose Duque’s stay in the DOH to present to President Duterte the proof of their allegations against the health official.
“At ‘pag sinabi niyang ‘I trust him’, well, sumunod tayo. Later on, ‘pag makita nating maraming mali, saka natin kasuhan. (And if the President says ‘I trust him’, well, we should just follow. Later on, if we find several wrongdoings, then we could file charges),” he said.
Earlier, Gordon said the issues being hurled against Duque are also being experienced by the Philippine Red Cross, which he chairs. particularly issues regarding the delayed reporting of COVID-19 cases, and the slow procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE).
He believed that it would be difficult to change the DOH leadership amid the pandemic.
On Monday, he said Duque should be careful of the “people around him”.