President Rodrgo Roa Duterte

MANILA – The good rapport between the Ombudsman and Executive department aided the probe into alleged massive corruption within the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night.

“If you would notice the fact that at no other time ‘yung rapport ng Ombudsman pati Executive department maganda ang pagsamahan (the rapport between the Ombudsman and Executive department is good) and it’s because of a — it’s a matter of human relations ‘yan. How you present the problem and try to ask his help,” he said in a taped public address.

Duterte lauded Ombudsman Samuel Martires for “trying his best” to go after erring PhilHealth officials.

“I find Martires as a very reasonable man. Pero iyong naglabas ‘yung sa PhilHealth na sunod-sunod, sabi ko na (But when allegations involving PhilHealth came out one after the other, I said) well I think he is really also trying his best to help us,” he said.

Despite not personally knowing Martires, Duterte said he was grateful for the Ombudsman’s help in “expediting” the PhilHealth investigation.

“It’s a very commendable act of the Ombudsman in trying to go out and help,” he said. “I do not know him pero kung ganoon ang nakuha mong reception sa kanya, wala ‘yan (but if that’s the reception you get from it, it’s nothing). It’s a matter of human niceties.”

He, however, clarified that the Executive department does not go to the Ombudsman to “ask for a decision either for or against anybody”.

“We just want to expedite and cut the delay because that is really the — the strategy of a lawyer to prolong the case until such time na ‘yung complainant nawalaan ng hangin (the complainant loses air),” he said.

The Office of the Ombudsman earlier ordered a six-month suspension of 13 PhilHealth officials amid ongoing investigations on the alleged fraudulent activities within the agency.

Last week, Duterte approved the recommendation of Task Force PhilHealth to file criminal and administrative charges against resigned PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Morales and other key corporate senior officials.

Duterte issued an ultimatum to new PhilHealth chief Dante Gierran to cleanse the corruption-ridden firm by December 2020.

Gierran was given instruction to “file all the cases that need to be filed” and “suspend and terminate” all erring PhilHealth officials within the deadline, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said. (PNA)

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