Guevarra explained that as a former chief executive officer of PhilHealth, Duque’s role in the scam could be looked into by the NBI in its expanded fact-finding probe.
NBI probe on PhilHealth scam might cover Duque
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III might also be covered by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)’s probe on the anomaly involving multibillion-peso bogus claims paid by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to dialysis treatment centers, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra bared yesterday.

Guevarra explained that as a former chief executive officer of PhilHealth, Duque’s role in the scam could be looked into by the NBI in its expanded fact-finding probe.

“The NBI probe may cover a number of years and will include the actions of every officer or employee of PhilHealth who had knowledge, or ought to have knowledge, of any irregular payments by PhilHealth,” he said.

Duque served as CEO of PhilHealth from 2001 to 2005 before he was appointed Department of Health (DOH) secretary in 2005 during the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Reappointed as DOH chief by President Duterte in October 2017, he also currently sits as chair of the board of PhilHealth.

Guevarra made the statement in response to the challenge of Sen. Panfilo Lacson as to why Duque has supposedly been spared from the controversy when he is also an official of PhilHealth. 

Lacson has questioned why the DOH chief did not join the other PhilHealth officials led by president and CEO Roy Ferrer in tendering their courtesy resignation amid the investigation on the controversy, citing issues of double standard and propriety.

“He (Duque) has lost that opportunity to show propriety. He should have done that (resignation) when all the members of the PhilHealth board which he chairs were asked by the President to submit their courtesy resignation. He should have set the example right then and there. Submitting a courtesy resignation is not in any way an admission of guilt. It only shows self-respect and responsible leadership,” the senator was quoted as saying.

Guevarra reiterated that the NBI probe would look into the possible liabilities of incumbent and former PhilHealth officials and personnel over the scam that allegedly cost the government P154 billion.

“The NBI is looking into the possibility that certain PhilHealth officials may be charged for violation of the Anti-Graft Law if they knowingly participated in this allegedly fraudulent scheme and benefitted from it,” Guevarra stressed.

After meeting with President Duterte last week, the PhilHealth officials tendered their courtesy resignation. 

Apart from Ferrer, the six other PhilHealth board members who resigned were Jack Arroyo, elected local chief executive; Rex Maria Mendoza, independent director of the Monetary Board; Hildegardes Dineros of the information economy sector; Celestina Ma. Jude dela Serna of the Filipino overseas workers sector; Roberto Salvador of the formal economy sector; and Joan Cristine Reina Liban-Lareza of the health care provider sector.

FRANCISCO DUQUE III MENARDO GUEVARRA
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