President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday advised his embattled Health Secretary Francisco Duque III against resigning amid the controversies hounding the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
“Secretary Duque, this is not the time for you to resign. Hindi pa panahon mag-resign. I’ve heard stories about you going to resign. I have full trust in you,” Duterte told Duque in a televised briefing from Malacañang.
He also seemingly acknowledged negligence both on Duque's part and on his own.
“If you handle a big organization, I had a chance when I became mayor and then president, talagang magne-negligent ka kasi hindi mo mahabol minsan e and sometimes nawawala ‘yung papel,” Duterte told Duque at a briefing on Monday night.
“These are the things that do not really matter to me. What matters is ‘yung corruption. Kung hindi ka corrupt you do not have any reason to resign,” he added.
Duque, ex-officio chairman of the state health insurer, was earlier tagged as the “godfather” of the PhilHealth “mafia,” whom a whistleblower accused of pocketing around P15 billion in funds through several fraudulent schemes.
“There’s an investigation going on. Let it be. If you are not guilty of corruption— ang kalaban ko lang po yung corruption,” Duterte said.
Duque, who has also been heavily criticized for the Department of Health's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic—with several senators even demanding his resignation—thanked the President for his “continued trust.”
In the same briefing, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told Duterte that “by September 14, we should be able to submit to you our report and our recommendations including the possible filing of administrative and/or criminal cases against persons in PhilHealth.” — BM, GMA News