Palace: Duterte to respect findings of PhilHealth probe panel
In a meeting at Malacañang last night, however, President Duterte told Duque: “This is not the time for you to resign… I have full trust in you… as of now. There is an investigation. Let it be.”
Presidential Communications Operations Office, file
Palace: Duterte to respect findings of PhilHealth probe panel
Alexis Romero ( - September 14, 2020 - 4:59pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to respect the evidence-based findings of the multiagency task force that probed the alleged anomalies in Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) "regardless of who is involved," Malacañang said Monday.

The justice department-led task force is scheduled to submit its recommendation to Duterte on Monday but officials have said the investigation on the health insurer won't end with the completion of the report.

While the Senate, which conducted its own probe, had recommended the filing of charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who is also PhilHealth chairman. 

Duterte expressed belief last week that the health chief is not corrupt.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte's remarks won't affect the findings of the task force.

"The president ordered the task force to conduct a fact-finding activity to recommend charges against individuals. I think the president will respect whatever evidence is uncovered by the task force regardless of who is involved," Roque said at a press briefing.

Asked whether the president would amend the report, Roque replied: "Of course, only the president can answer that question but I doubt it because he (has given) authority to the fact-finding (body) he formed."

"And I think since he was the one who formed that, he will accept the factual findings of his own task force. Of course, the final say will still be the president's and we cannot limit his options," he added.

PhilHealth is under scrutiny over allegations that billions in funds have been lost to fraudulent activities including the purchase of allegedly overpriced coronavirus test kits and information technology equipment, the unauthorized release of funds to hospitals that have not yet logged coronavirus infections, and the overstating of hospital claims to the health insurer.

Duterte has created a multi-agency task force to look into the allegations, which surfaced as the Philippines is battling the coronavirus pandemic. The task force is led by the justice department and composed of the Office of the Ombudsman, Civil Service Commission, Office of the Executive Secretary, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and Palace Undersecretary Melchor Quitain.

Duque and other PhilHealth officials have denied involvement in anomalies and have expressed readiness to answer the accusations against them.

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