Department of Health (DoH) Secretary Francisco Duque III is not yet off the hook concerning alleged anomalies at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
“It all depends on what we may see further in the future,” he said during an interview on CNN Philippines Thursday.
The Justice Secretary pointed this out even though Duque’s name was excluded in the report submitted by Task Force PhilHealth to President Duterte concerning investigation conducted over anomalies at the State health insurer where the Health Secretary is oard chairman.
READ MORE: Duque not yet off the hook — PACC
“The findings of the task force were preliminary in nature because we have only covered three major areas where fraud is heavily suspected and that’s in the area of IT (Information Technology) procurement, in the area of the legal sector, and in the IRM (Interim Reimbursement Mechanism),” explained the Justice Secretary, convenor of Task Force PhilHealth.
In so far as the three areas areas are concerned, Guevarra said the task force “have not seen sufficient evidence against the chairman.”
“But it doesn’t say that when we conduct further investigations, when we go more deeply into other areas of fraud, we are absolutely and totally exonerating the secretary or the other members of the board,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra said that it is important for the task force to gather sufficient evidence before filing criminal complaints.
“The DoJ and any other investigating agency will be representing the people of the Philippines kaya we want to make sure na yung ipa-file ng DoJ on behalf of the people is not garbage (so we want to make sure that the cases that the DoJ will file on behalf of the people is not garbage),” he said.
Guevarra backed proposals from some legislators that the Secretary of Health no longer sit as board chairman of PhilHealth.
“I agree with some legislators na hindi kailangan ang Secretary of Health ang mag-chair because first and foremost its the State health insurer (I agree with some legislators that the secretary of health is not needed to be the chairman of the board because first and foremost is the State health insurer),” said Guevarra who pointed out that PhilHealth is not a health institution and a person with expertise in insurance business, management, and finance should be the one placed there.
Guevarra said Duque is “spreading himself too thinly because of the many responsibilities he is attending to.”
Aside from dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and his duties as Secretary of Health, Guevarra noted Duque is in various boards of other government agencies and instrumentalities.
“PhilHealth is a very important agency or corporation of government and I believe that more attention, especially in the light of so many anomalies and irregularities being reported, should have been given by the secretary and the members of the board to PhilHealth.”
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Author: Jeffrey Damicog