Press Release
August 11, 2020

Hontiveros on PhilHealth investigation: Nasaan si Duque?

Senator Risa Hontiveros during the probe today on corruption allegations against state-insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) urged the committee to invite Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for questioning. The senator questioned why Duque, who has been present on the board of PhilHealth for almost 20 years, has not been included in the investigation.

"Why is the Health Secretary unscathed in all this? Isa si Secretary Duque sa mga dapat magpaliwanag ng maigi ukol sa mga alegasyon ng korapsyon sa PhilHealth. In fact, he has been connected with PhilHealth in various capacities since 2001. Now on his second term as Chairperson of the Board of PhilHealth, he cannot deny responsibility for all irregularities inside such a vital health institution," Hontiveros said.

Sec. Duque served as President of the corporation from 2001 to 2005, and subsequently as the Chairman of the Board again from 2005 to 2009, Hontiveros noted. During Duque's previous stints at the agency, a University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) report raised concerns about PhilHealth's 'excesses' in administrative expenses that went beyond the legally allowable limit for years of 2004, 2008 and 2009, based on audited reports from the Commission on Audit (COA).

Duque was also the PhilHealth President in 2004 when a P500 million fund from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) was allegedly used illegally to purchase PhilHealth cards bearing then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's campaign slogan, Hontiveros said, citing allegations raised by Senator Panfilo Lacson.

"If we want to clean up PhilHealth, we must go way back to 2001, when Secretary Duque was the PhilHealth President," she said. "With his long history in the institution, Duque cannot feign ignorance of this systemic corruption."

"If we want structural change, alugin natin. Expose the sacred cows. Expose the conflicts. Most of all, expose the backers," she said.

"I am sick and tired of the fact that while people are dying from COVID and we have become the literal sick man of Asia, may mga patuloy na yumayaman at patuloy na di nananagot. Kung totoong bilyones and nawala, siguradong may protector ang mga 'yan. Aalamin natin kung sino ang mga bumulsa at siguraduhin mabalik sa taumbayan ang pera nila," Hontiveros concluded.

News Latest News Feed