AT least three senators are urging President Rodrigo Duterte to consider their findings on Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s liability over the alleged irregularities in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the President should talk to them or at least read their report.
“The President should talk to us and not just listen to the excuses. Better yet, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdeashould have the President read the Senate report,” Sotto said.
On Monday, Duterte defended anew Duque and cleared him of liabilities in the reported corruption and anomalous transactions in the PhilHealth.
Sotto believes the President was “not aware of the facts” on what transpired in the state insurer.
He maintained that Duque, as chairman of the PhilHealth Board of Directors, is answerable to Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code whether one signed or not.
“All the more if you are the Chairman of the Board governing the agency,” he said.
Earlier, on Monday the Committee of the Whole’s report on its legislative inquiry on the PhilHealth’s mess and upheld the recommendation to file charges against Duque, ex-PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales and other senior officials of the corporation.
Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson said that with the Duterte’s recent pronouncement, Duque has practically been cleared of accountability over the issues with the PHilHealth’s advanced payments.
“With his appointed chief investigator to his right and one of those being accused in the PhilHealth mess to his left, he cleared the accused of any wrongdoing. End of story,” Lacson said in his tweet.
The senator also admitted that the President is not obligated to heed the Senate’s findings.
“The executive being an independent and separate branch of government is not bound by the Senate’s findings regardless of individual alliances of the majority of its members with the President,” he said.
For his side, Senator Francis Pangilinan is urging Malacañang to heed the call of the Senate and replace Duque at the helm of DOH and the interagency task force (IATF) handling the country’s COVID-19 response.
“He is damaged goods and cannot hope to be able to effectively lead the country’s already faltering anti-COVID campaign. It is long overdue for Malacañang to show decisive leadership and political will by firing Duque and revamping the IATF,” Pangilinan said in a separate statement.
“Ang huling limang buwan ay naging kahila-hilakbot na pagpapakita ng kawalang-kakayahan at gulo sa PhilHealth. Dapat magising ang administrasyon na kailangan muling i-reboot at i-redirect ang kampanya ng COVID para malayo sa napakakitid nitong pagpapatupad ng batas at militaristikong bias tungo sa isang holistic na diskarte sa kalusugan ng taumbayan,” he said.