The complaint filed on June 21, however, is based on Duque’s alleged illegal financial interest in his family firm doing business with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
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Duque faces plunder, graft complaint over PhilHealth
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - June 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Parents of 10 deceased children suspected as victims of the Dengvaxia vaccine have filed a criminal complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The complaint filed on June 21, however, is based on Duque’s alleged illegal financial interest in his family firm doing business with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Assisted by lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office, the complainants charged Duque with violations of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, as well as of plunder as defined and penalized under RA 7080 or the Plunder Law.

The complainants said Duque, even after his appointment as health secretary in November 2017, continues to hold substantial shares of stocks with his family-owned company Educational and Medical Development Corp. (EMDC).

The complainants said that based on the corporation’s 2018 general information sheet with the Securities and Exchange Comission, Duque owns 13,268 shares of EMDC amounting to P13.268 million, representing one-eighth of the P61.535-million total paid-up capital of the firm.

The complainants said by virtue of his position as head of the Department of Health, Duque is also an ex-officio chairman of PhilHealth. 

They said PhilHealth entered into a lease contract with EMDC in 2018 for the company’s 2,051.40-square-meter building to serve as PhilHealth’s regional office for Region 1.

The complainants said a review of the contract shows that PhilHealth shall lease the EMDC building for P529,261.20 a month. They said PhilHealth even made an advance security deposit of P1.105 million to EMDC.

“Apparently, respondent Dr. Duque III has upheld his personal interest over the interest of the public. Public officials and employees are enjoined not to have any financial or material interest, directly or indirectly, in any transaction requiring the approval of their office,” the complainants said, citing Section 7 of RA 6713.

They said even Duque’s brother, Gonzalo, had admitted in a radio interview on June 21 that their family owns the EMDC building being leased by PhilHealth, although the lease contract was entered into more than 20 years ago.

The complainants alleged that Duque has the “propensity to utilize his position” to gain benefits for his family and friends, claiming that he is also linked to the owner of WellMed Dialysis Center Bryan Christopher Sy, who is supposedly his godson. 

WellMed is involved in the P154-billion ghost dialysis scam.

The complainants also hit Duque for allegedly failing to extend medical assistance to the children administered with the Dengvaxia vaccine.

FRANCISCO DUQUE III GRAFT AND CORRUPTION PHILHEALTH PLUNDER
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