Duque, Del Rosario ‘not yet off-the-hook’ on PhilHealth probe, says PACC exec
By Cathrine Gonzales
INQUIRER.net
2020-09-16 08:48:09

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Rodolfo Del Rosario Jr., resigned senior vice president for legal sector of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), are not yet off-the-hook from the investigation being conducted on alleged irregularities in the state-run firm.

Presidential Anti-Corruption Commissioner Greco Belgica said Wednesday that the 30 days given to the Task Force PhilHealth to submit a report to President Rodrigo Duterte was not enough to investigate all the corruption claims hounding the agency.

“No, definitely not. The investigation is continuing,” Belgica told ABS-CBN News Channel when asked if Duque, who sits as chairman of the PhilHealth Board of Directors, is now free from liability after being excluded from those whom the task force has recommended to face charges for alleged corruption in PhilHealth.

“In the course of investigation, we were able to secure documents and evidence that opened up more and other leads to investigation that we have to substantiate in document. So Secretary Duque is not yet off the hook. A thorough investigation and determination of liabilities is being done in the entire PhilHealth,” he added.

Regarding Del Rosario, Belgica said the task force primarily investigated issues on the agency’s Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) so the resigned official was also excluded from those recommended to face charges.

“Many of the cases that Del Rosario was involved in were not only in the IRM so he is not off the hook,” the PACC official explained.

Belgica also pointed out that Duterte has not cleared anyone from PhilHealth, not even Duque, from liability even as the President said he has “full trust” for the Health Chief prior to the task force’s submission of its report.

He added that the task force has not cleared from liability anyone from the accused officials either yet.

“The President has reiterated his trust to Secretary Duque but has not ordered us to stop the investigation. In fact, he continues to tell us to investigate,” he said.

“Wala pong kiniclear dito. ‘Yung aming submission is only saying na ito po ang natapos namin for the 30 days in the issue that we investigated. However, the creation of composite teams means we are pursuing the investigation and this will still include everyone,” Belgica added.

(We have not cleared anyone. The report we submitted only included the issues we were able to investigate. However, the creation of composite teams means we are pursuing the investigation and this will still include everyone.)

For Belgica, the task force’s recommendation for a “strong admonition” against Duque and other members of the PhilHealth board is “probably [meant] to signify to the people that the investigation is not yet finished.”

Duterte earlier approved the recommendation of the task force to file criminal and administrative cases against former PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales and several other officials over alleged irregularities in the agency.

Aside from Morales, among those who will be charged criminally and administratively are Senior Vice President Jovita Aragona, officer-in-charge Calixto Gabuya Jr., SVP Renato Limsiaco, SVP Israel Francis Pargas, COO Arnel de Jesus, and division chief Bobby Crisostomo.

Allegations of irregularities hurled against PhilHealth include those involved in the procurement of alleged overpriced IT equipment; the supposedly questionable release of funds under its Interim Reimbursement Mechanism; and the alleged manipulation of the corporation’s financial status.

EDV

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