Duque won’t be asked to file a leave amid corruption probe — Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   August 1, 2019   •   773

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

MANILA, Philippines – Palace Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte will not ask Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to file a leave of absence despite an imminent investigation against him for allegations of impropriety.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordon is set to probe Duque for alleged conflict of interest over deals between the government and pharmaceutical companies owned by his family, and for allowing PhilHealth office in Pangasinan to rent in a family-owned property.

“That is his call,” said Panelo.

Panelo asked critics to let the due process of law take its course on the matter.

He added that while the investigation is ongoing, the presumption of innocence remains on the accused under the Constitution.

“Those who charge him should submit proof to support their accusations,” Panelo concluded. — with reports from Rosalie Coz

‘If he has data, file the case’ —PhilHealth chief on Roque’s corruption allegation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 18, 2020

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) President Ricardo Morales has called on Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque to show proof of corruption in the agency.

“Matagal na iyang vendetta against some people dito sa Philhealth (His vendetta against some people here in PhilHealth had been going on for a while now). If he has some data, file the case. What’s keeping him?” he said.

Morales also reiterated there is no truth in Roque’s statement on alleged irregularities in PhilHealth. Roque also called out PhilHealth’s ‘inaction’ to address the said irregularities.

“Ang inaasahan natin mag-iimbestiga, magtatanggal, magpaparusa, pero wala po tayong nakitang ganyang ginawa si General Morales (What we expect are investigation and punishment, but we have not seen those done by General Morales),” Roque said during a press briefing.

Morales said they already took action on the complaints against the 20 PhilHealth officials and employees who are allegedly involved in corruption. –AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Ombudsman probe won’t affect DOH, COVID-19 task force credibility – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday expressed confidence that the Office of the Ombudsman’s investigation into the alleged irregularities in the Department of Health’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis won’t affect the credibility of the agency and the government task force.

In a televised briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that at this point, health officials and other personalities involved in the probe are “presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

“Kung mapapansin ninyo naman po ang IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) po talaga, lahat po ng departamento, it’s a whole government approach, it’s not just the DOH although the DOH po has the position of leadership,” Roque said.

The Palace official also relayed that President Rodrigo Duterte believes that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III will be able to respond to the allegations being investigated by the Ombudsman.

“Kampante po ang president na masasagot po ni Secretary Duque lahat po ‘yang alegasyon sa Ombudsman,” he said.

He added that the president “has time and again expressed his continuing trust and confidence” in Duque whose leadership at the health agency has been beset by controversies.

The Office of the Ombudsman earlier said it will launch an investigation into the supposed irregularities in the DOH’s response against COVID-19.

The probe would cover the purchase of coronavirus disease test kits, delayed procurement of personal protective equipment and other supplies for healthcare workers and the rising number of fatalities among medical workers amid the public health crisis, as well as the delay in the release of financial assistance to healthcare workers who have fallen severely ill and died due to coronavirus disease.

Duque earlier said he is ready to face the Ombudsman probe. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Ombudsman probes Duque, DOH execs over alleged COVID-19 response anomalies

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 17, 2020

Ombudsman Samuel Martires on Wednesday (June 17) ordered an investigation on Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque and other DOH officials over alleged irregularities in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response.

“I directed the creation of two more investigating teams who will jointly investigate alleged irregularities and anomalies committed by DOH officials and employees, including Health Sec. Francisco Duque, in relation to the response of the DOH during this pandemic,” he said.

Martires also tasked the investigating team to file complaints against any DOH official or employee who would refuse to cooperate with the investigation.

Among the accusations to be investigated include:

  1. Purchase of 100 thousand test kits by the Department of Health
  2. Delayed procurement of Personal Protective Equipment and other medical gears necessary for the protection of healthcare workers
  3. Alleged lapses and irregularities that led to the death of medical workers
  4. Rising number of deaths and infected medical frontliners
  5. Inaction in the release processing of benefits and financial assistance of “fallen” and infected medical frontliners; and
  6. Confusing and delayed reporting of COVID-19 related deaths and confirmed cases.

Malacañang said it respects the decision of the Ombudsman to conduct an investigation on Duque and other DOH officials.

“We will let the process run its course as we enjoin Secretary Duque & the entire DOH bureaucracy to cooperate with the investigation and respect the orders of the OMB,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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