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Senate findings baseless – Duque

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Health Secretary Francisco Duque III slammed the Senate Committee of the Whole report which recommended the filing of criminal charges against him over alleged corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

“The Senate Committee made baseless findings on mere allegations alone,” Duque said during the hearing of the House Committee on Public Accounts and the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability on PhilHealth anomalies on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Senate panel has recommended the filing of malversation and other charges against Duque and several other PhilHealth officials over the alleged improper and illegal implementation of the interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) funds.

Duque, who appeared before the joint panel hearing for the first time maitained that he was not involved in the corruption in PhilHealth.

“I was impleaded on the IRM was not even part of the deliberation and did not sign the said resolution. Ni anino po ng aking pirma ay hindi makita.”

Duque told the joint panel he is “for zero tolerance on fraud and corruption.”

He also cited reforms he initiated in PhilHealth since he became its President in 2001 up to the time he became Chairman of the Board when he was appointed Health Secretary in 2017.

In 2001, Duque said he said he signed a memorandum of agreement with the National Bureau of Investigation for investigation of cases in aid of fraud prevention. In 2005, he led the creation of task force to investigate cataract-related cases. This, he said, led to the filing of 3,000 cases against erring providers.

Duque said in 2017, he urged PhiHealth to adopt rotation policy as a strong anti-corruption measure.

“I remain unflinching in my battles, not only in fight to protect my character as public servant but also in the fight to implement President Duterte’s noble vision for genuine universal access to healthcare for all Filipinos and ensure we come out of this pandemic healthy as a people and as a nation,” Duque said.

“Rest assured, I am one with you to endeavor to ensure accountability of public officers and uphold public office as a public trust,” he added.

Meanwhile, Duque also said he is optimistic that newly appointed PhilHealth Chief Dante Gierran will be able to address issues in PhilHealth and bring back public’s confidence to the agency.

“I’m optimistic that under the most able leadership of Atty. Dante Gierran, he will ferret out the scalawags and return the public’s confidence in PhilHealth especially in these trying times,” Duque said.

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