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‘This is only the beginning’ Palace clarifies on PhilHealth issue

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (Photo Credits: facebook.com/PresSpokespersonPH)

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque stressed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will continue their investigation on the anomalies that hound the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Roque made this clear on Tuesday, September 15, when asked whether the recommendation of Task Force PhilHealth absolves Health Sec. Francisco Duque from any of the issues regarding the state-owned health insurance firm.

The inter-agency task force only recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against:

  • resigned PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales,
  • Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Arnel De Jesus,
  • Senior Vice President Jovita Aragona,
  • Senior Vice President Renato Limsiaco Jr.,
  • Senior Vice President Israel Francis Pargas,
  • officer-in-charge Calixto Gabuya Jr., and
  • Division Chief Bobby Crisostomo.

Duque serves as an ex-officio member of the PhilHealth board of directors, and its chairperson.

This is only the beginning ‘no. Nakasaad din sa report na magpapatuloy po ang imbestigasyon ng NBI at ng DOJ at magpapatuloy pa rin ang mga imbestigasyon ng Ombudsman,” Roque said during an online press briefing.

“Ito ay pauna lamang given the very limited period of time na binigay sa task force to come up with its recommendations,” the Palace official added.

Roque also stressed that the report said that the PhilHealth Board showed negligence in allowing the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism, in voting for the ICT contract, and in failing to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of fraud in the agency.

He also shared that the report recommended that President Rodrigo Duterte admonish the members of the PhilHealth board, which includes Duque.

So it’s not just Secretary Duque, there is also the ex-officio members of the board ‘no which includes at least 5 sitting secretaries,” the Malacanang spokesperson explained.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III showed surprise that the task force did not recommend filing charges against Duque, and hopes that the Office of the Ombudsman ‘would have a better perspective of the anomalies’.

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