Duque asks senators: Don’t charge me

Published October 5, 2020, 11:03 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III appealed to senators Monday not to file a complaint against him before the Office of the Ombudsman concerning allegations of involvement in corrupt activities at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“I would really like to appeal so that I will not be distracted from my work,” he said during an interview on CNN Philippines.

“This is a very difficult job,” Duque pointed out.

The Health Secretary admitted it is up to the Senate to decide whether or not to file a complaint against him.

“Should they decide to file a complaint against me with the Ombudsman I trust the due process will be observed by the Ombudsman and by everyone,” he said.

“Until all the pieces of evidence are really established which I feel must lead to the dismissal of the case once these pieces of evidence are put together,” he said.

Confident that he will be cleared of any accusations of wrongdoing, Duque reiterated his willingness to cooperate over investigations concerning alleged PhilHealth corrupt activities.

“I will support an investigation. I will cooperate. If they call for me I will be there immediately to answer the questions,” Duque said.

Though he is chairman of the PhilHealth, the Health Secretary explained he has not been part of the decision making process of the PhilHealth board.

“I really had nothing to do with it. I was not part of the discussions, debates, deliberations kasi nga wala ako (because I was not there),” said Duque who noted that he entrusted the decision making process to his then vice chairman, former PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales.

“Ang pagkukulang ko dapat andoon ako at dapat narinig ko lahat ng mga panig, narinig ko lahat ang kanilang mga debate, diskusyon (May shortcomings would have been I should have been there and heard all their sides, the debates, the discussions),” he said.

Duque said he will leave to the President Duterte the fate of PhilHealth.

The Health Secretary pointed out that the President gave PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Dante Gierran until December to do something about the corrupt activities at the PhilHealth.

“So let’s wait. I’m sure he will be in the best position to make a final recommendation to the President,” said Duque.

Duque said he supports to recent decision of Gierran who asked PhilHealth executives to turn over their courtesy resignations.

Duque, a former chairman of the Civil Service Commission, said that this move “can be challenged before the CSC.”

He believes it would be better that PhilHealth executives be investigated and cases filed against them.