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Duterte orders investigation into Philhealth irregularities

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President Rodrigo R. Duterte—who has called President Vladimir Putin his “idol” and who’s seeking to boost ties with Russia—said that Manila can assist Moscow in clinical trials and local production of its coronavirus vaccine. -- Presidential photo/Simeon Celi Jr.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte ordered the creation of a task force to investigate irregularities within the Philippine Health Corp. (PhilHealth) as the state insurer’s officials face allegations of corruption.

Palace Spokesperson Harry L. Roque said in a briefing on Friday that the President signed a memorandum ordering the Department of Justice (DoJ) to probe the matter, this as PhilHealth is facing fresh allegations of corruption amid an investigation by Congress.

“Nag-isyu po ang ating Presidente ng isang memorandum na naka-address po kay Secretary Menardo Guevarra ng Department of Justice na bumuo po ng task force para po imbestigahan ang mga anomalya dito sa PhilHealth (The President issued a memorandum addressed to [DoJ] Secretary Menardo Guevarra to create a task force to investigate the anomalies in PhilHealth),” he said.

Based on the memorandum dated Aug. 7, Mr. Duterte said the task force will also conduct an “audit of the PhilHealth finances and conduct of lifestyle checks on its officials and employees.”

The panel may also recommend the suspension of any of PhilHealth’s officials for the unhampered conduct of the probe. The task force will submit its findings to the president within 30 days.

PhilHealth has been under fire for revelations made during hearings in Congress after its anti-fraud legal officer Thorsson Montes Keith, who recently resigned, said there were anomalous activities in the agency.

Earlier this week, Mr. Roque said Mr. Duterte would not fire current PhilHealth President Ricardo C. Morales, adding that the president wants to see more proof against PhilHealth before he takes any action. — Gillian M. Cortez





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