Duterte to respect findings of Task Force PhilHealth – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   September 14, 2020   •   510

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will respect the findings of the task force he created to probe the allegations of corruption hounding the Philippine Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the task force was given fact-finding powers and he believes that the president will accept its probe results.

“Binigyan nga po niya ng kapangyarihan na maging fact-finding yung task force na binuo niya, and I think dahil siya naman po ang bumuo niyan, he will accept the factual-finding of his own task force,” he said.

The task force, which was formed in early August and headed by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, submitted to the chief executive its report on fraud and allegations against PhilHealth executives on Monday, Sept 14.

In a statement, Guevarra said the outcome of their 30-day investigation will “attempt to present the general environment at PhilHealth which enables fraud and corruption,” as well as the specific instances where fraudulent or corrupt acts have been perpetrated.

However, he did not divulge any details of the report or name of those they would recommend to be charged.

The task force last week concluded its hearings on the alleged anomalies within PhilHealth after interviewing several witnesses and resource persons, and gathered some documents. It also used the transcripts of records provided by Senate and House of Representatives panels that conducted separate investigation into the PhilHealth mess.

Its probe included the alleged inability of PhilHealth’s IT systems to detect fraudulent claims, and the thousands of cases against erring agency employees and healthcare institutions that have remained unfiled.

Although the task force has already concluded its probe, Guevarra said investigations and special audits on PhilHealth transactions will continue.

“But our composite teams will continue their ongoing investigations and special audits and file legal actions as they finish one case after another,” he said.

Task Force PhilHealth is a multi-agency team composed of representatives from the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission and the Office of the President, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, Office of the Special Assistant to the President, Anti-Money Laundering Council, National Bureau of Investigation and the National Prosecution Service. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Duterte dares Robredo to get COVID-19 shot first: ‘Siya ang apurado, siya ang mauna’

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dared Vice President Leni Robredo to get vaccinated first against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) now that China’s Sinovac vaccine has finally arrived in the country.

“Siya man ‘yong apurado, siya ang mauna,” the President said of Robredo during the turn-over of the Sinovac vaccine at Pasay City on Sunday (February 28).

This was the President’s response to the call of Robredo for him to get vaccinated first to boost public confidence in the government’s vaccination efforts.

He said Robredo is more qualified to get vaccinated as she is younger than him.

“Ako, I cannot just decide. She’s young, I am not. I have to defer to my doctor,” the President said.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the use of Sinovac vaccine to individuals who are fit and healthy, aged 18 to 59.

According to President Duterte, his doctors are recommending a different brand and he already requested a personal supply of a certain brand of vaccine which he opted not to disclose the name.

“Ako, nanghingi ako personal. Wala silang stock. Nanghingi ako para sa pamilya ko pati sa akin,” he said.

“I don’t know if we would have enough vaccines for everybody. But I think I can accommodate the Cabinet members,” he added.

Malacañang had earlier announced that the President prefers to use the COVID-19 vaccine from Sinopharm which is another brand from China. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte declares Nov. 2, Dec. 24 & 31 ‘Special working days’ for this year

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has issued a proclamation amending some dates that have long been traditional holidays in the country and making them now ‘special working days.’

Under Proclamation No. 1107, the president declared the following days as ‘special working days’ for the year 2021:

  • November 2 – All souls’ day
  • December 24 – Christmas eve
  • December 31 – New Year’s eve

These dates were previously classified as special non-working days under Proclamation No. 986 s. 2020.

“For the country to recover from the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to encourage economic productivity by, among others, minimizing work disruption and commemorating some special holidays as special (working) days instead,” Duterte said in his order.

The coronavirus pandemic has plunged the country’s economy into a slump last year due to a lockdown that affected many businesses and workers.

Duterte designates NBI as sole body to probe PNP-PDEA ‘misencounter’

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has designated the National Bureau of Investigation to be the sole agency to investigate the alleged misencounter between cops and operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Malacañang said Friday.

“Nagdesisyon po ang ating president na tanging NBI lang po ang mag-iimbestiga duon sa putukan na nangyari sa panig ng mga kapulisan at PDEA diyan po sa Quezon City,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The shooting incident involving policemen and PDEA operatives occurred on Wednesday afternoon near a mall along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. Four individuals – two cops, a PDEA agent and an informant – were killed in the gun battle.

The PNP and PDEA earlier said that a joint Board of Inquiry has been created to look into the incident.

But due to Duterte’s order, the joint probe will have to be discontinued.

“’Yung mga binuong joint panel para imbestigahan yan, na binuo po ng PNP at PDEA ay di na po magtutuloy sa kanilang imbestigahan,” Roque said.

Both PNP and PDEA assured to work with the NBI in compliance with Duterte’s directive. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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