Tue. May 11th, 2021
(Photo Courtesy: http://www.coconuts.co)

A House Committee has recommended the filing of charges against Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd and former PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Morales, among others, for alleged corruption.

In a virtual presser on Friday, Rep. Michael Defensor, chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts, said that the House of Representatives’ Committees on Public Accounts and Good Government and Public Accountability, recommended the filing of charges Duque and Morales.

The recommendation is in a draft report.

Defensor added the report will be finalized  in the next joint hearing next week and will be “discussed, debated on and amended if necessary”.

He said that the DOH Secretary was included in the list of people to be charged for “reversing” a Court of Appeals order suspending a hospital in Cebu for extending a patient’s period  of confinement that was credited to PhilHealth. PhilHealth instead fined the hospital.

Also, the lawmaker said there was a “clear violation” on the cash advances made to hospitals under the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM), a system approved by the PhilHealth board under Duque.

“So all those actions were covered in this report and of course all those actions will be covered by a particular violation,” he said.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he believes President Rodrigo Duterte would not prevent the prosecution of anyone in his Cabinet if there is clear evidence of wrongdoing.

“If evidence should turn up against anyone, regardless of position, I believe that the President, who has prosecutorial blood running in his veins, will not impede the legal process from taking its due course. The DOJ will simply continue what it has been directed by the President to do; that is to bring any and all lawbreakers at PhilHealth before the bars of justice,” Guevarra said.

This is in response to Duterte’s statement, saying he sees no reason to charge Duque in connection with irregularities hounding PhilHealth.

Guevarra also said the Senate or the House of Representatives are free to file their own complaints against erring PhilHealth officials. (sovereignph.com)

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