Duque admits corruption exists in PhilHealth

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque admitted Tuesday that there is corruption at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).         

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque

‘’Mayroon yan,’’ Duque, ex-officio chairman of the PhilHealth board, replied when asked by Senator Imee R. Marcos whether corruption exists at the agency. (Corruption exists.)        

 Duque appeared on Tuesday at in-person and virtual public hearing of alleged widespread corruption at PhilHealth by the Senate Committee of the Whole.         

Queried by Marcos whether he knows who is at fault behind the hemorrhaging of PhilHealth funds in the tens of billions of pesos because of corrupt practices, Duque said ‘’probably there is a parang…syndicate or web of people of people this activity, from the hospitals...’’        

Marcos and Duque’s verbal sparring during the virtual hearing was marred by erratic Internet signals.        

Asked whether retired Brigadier General Ricardo Morales, PhilHealth president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), is at fault, Duque said he only met Morales once since the general took over as PhilHealth president in mid-2019.        

Duque is tagged as ‘’godfather’’ since he has held the ex-officio chairmanship of PhilHealth in staggered terms since he became the Department of Health since 2001.        

He said the term of a PhilHealth president should be more than one year as PhilHealth as a history of having a president every year.        

This longer tenure is designed for stability and allows the PhilHealth chief to implement reforms.         

When asked during past committee hearings whether he has failed the President to clean PhilHealth of corruption, Morales did not give a categorical answer but instead said that his proposed information technology (IT) modernization should take hold first to help manage efficiently the agency.      

Duque said he is thanking President Duterte for his continued trust in his performance as DOH chief despite calls by at least 14 senators for him to resign his Cabinet post for failure to contain the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19).