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    Duque must go amid PhilHealth's P15B corruption scandal – Pangilinan

    MANILA, Philippines – The P15 billion corruption scandal at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) especially during the pandemic is another reason why Department of Health (DoH) Secretary Francisco Duque III must go, Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said Wednesday.

    Senator Francis Pangilinan tells Department of Health (DoH) Secretary Francisco Duque III to resign amid PhilHealth's P15B corruption scandal.

    "Maawa naman sana sila sa ating mga kababayan. Maawa sila sa taumbayan. Palitan na po si Duque bilang DoH secretary at IATF head. Maghanap ng mas mayroong kakayahang sugpuin ang kambal na sakit ng COVID at kurakot. Siya ang dating presidente at ngayon ay chairman of the board ng PhilHealth. Hindi pwedeng wala siyang pananagutan sa P15-bilyong iskandalong 'yan," he said.

    "Bukas, August 6, gugunitain ang 75th anniversary ng Hiroshima bombing, at sa August 9 naman ang Nagasaki bombing. Itong pandemya ay singtindi ng World War II. Kriminal ang kapabayaan sa gitna ng ganitong kalalang krisis na may 'crime of the year' pa sa mismong ahensya na nagsisiguro ng kaligtasan at kalusugan nating lahat," he added.

    Pangilinan was among a number of senators who sought a Senate investigation on corruption in the agency. In his Senate Resolution 474, Pangilinan said officials must be held accountable.

    "Narinig na nga natin sa hearing kahapon kung papaano puputulin ng pangungurakot ang pagsiguro na ang magkakasakit ngayong pandemya ay magagamot. Kawawa naman tayong nagbabayad ng kontribusyon sa PhilHealth. Kawawa naman tayong nagbabayad ng buwis. Kawawa naman ang mga maysakit," he said.

    At the Senate hearing, resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud legal officer Thorsson Montes Keith revealed that about P15 billion have been stolen from the government corporation.

    "Sabi ko nga, imbis na mass testing, naging massive stealing sa PhilHealth. Imbis na contact tracing, ay naging contract fixing sa PhilHealth. Tapos imbis na treating, lining their pockets ang nangyari dito," Pangilinan reiterated.

    Last week, Pangilinan stressed his point on accountability and voted no to Bayanihan Act 2 unless Duque goes, explaining that billions of pesos will go down the drain with Duque's failure of leadership that condones incompetence and corruption.

    "Dapat may makulong sa pagkawala ng P15 billion. Hindi yan tingi-tinging kendi o yosi sa kanto. Bilyon-bilyon yan. Dapat nilang isoli ang ninakaw," he said.

    "Ang problema ay COVID. Ang problema ay sakit. Kung patuloy sa ganyan pa ring kalakaran at pamumuno, patuloy pa rin ang magkakasakit at mamamatay sa COVID, patuloy pa ring maghihingalo ang ekonomiya," he added.

    Pangilinan pointed out that the Philippines is becoming the COVID hotspot in the Southeast Asian region, as the country monitors over 100,000 COVID-positive cases while Malaysia has less than a tenth at 8,000 and Thailand, 5,000.

    On Tuesday, August 4, the Philippines posted an all-time high of 6,352 new COVID-positive cases, bringing the total to 112,593.

    — The Summit Express

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