The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday said it is "grateful" to the government task force that probed the alleged irregularities in PhilHealth for not including Health Secretary Francisco Duque III from the list of officials it recommended to face charges.
At a virtual press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the department is also thanking President Rodrigo Duterte for still trusting Duque, who sits as ex-officio chairman of the PhilHealth board, even amid the controversy.
“Definitely, we thank the President na nabigyan ng trust ang Health Secretary. Mahirap magpalit ng liderato ngayong nasa gitna tayo ng ating sitwasyon ng pandemic. It is really hard to make such shift, that is why we welcome the decision [of the task force] and are grateful,” she said.
“Mas panatag na ang ating pagtatrabaho with this welcome development,” Vergeire added.
Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete, who was part of Task Force PhilHealth, earlier said it would need more evidence to implicate Duque, considering that PhilHealth can implement policies without securing Duque's approval.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier said that he was dumbfounded that Duque was spared by the task Force, which only recommended filing of charges against resigned PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales, Senior Vice President (SVP) Jovita Aragona, Officer in Charge Calixto Gabuya Jr., SVP Renato Limsiaco Jr., SVP Israel Pargas, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Arnel de Jesus, and Division Chief Bobby Crisostomo.
Sotto has argued that while Duque is a non-voting PhilHealth Board chairman, he should still be held liable for negligence. —KBK, GMA News