Walk the talk, Garin tells Philhealth Chairman Duque

Published September 2, 2020, 10:11 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

This was the call made by former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary and now Iloilo 1st District Rep.Janette Garin to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III after the Senate Committee of the Whole recommended the filing of malversation and graft charges against him and other PhilHealth officials for supposedly abusing the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.’s Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) funds.

Iloilo 1st District Rep. and former Department of Health (DOH) secretary Janette Garin (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“I call on Secretary Duque to walk the talk, admit the lapses inside PhilHealth, correct whatever it is there,” she said in a virtual press briefing, as Duque dismissed as “baseless” the findings of the Senate panel  about the “improper and illegal implementation of the IRM policy, and declared that he is for “zero tolerance on fraud and corruption.”

“There is a lot of opportunity for the honorable Secretary to walk the talk, walk your talk, institute reforms, do not deny the wrongdoings or happenings inside because you can actually make a difference,” Garin stressed. 

During the continued House probe on alleged anomalies hounding PhilHealth, Duque told lawmakers that he was implicated in the IRM and did not even join Board deliberations on the program, which was already suspended. 

Garin explained that being the chairman of the PhilHealth Board, Duque “holds a crucial role” and “has moral obligation” to ensure that the agency is free from fraud and corruption. 

“What is important now is to admit that there is lot of things happening inside,” she said, lamenting that “corruption and fraud is deeply entrenched in PhilHealth.”

Duque served as PhilHealth chairman from 2005 to 2009, and in 2017. 

House Minority Leader and Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. backed Garin’s call. 

“The Minority is short of calling for the resignation of Secretary Duque, at this point in time, we do not want him to resign, we wanted him to appear to the committee hearings, we wanted him to expose the corruption and we want him to really walk the talk this time,” he said.