Duque owns building rented by PhilHealth office in Pangasinan – Lacson
MANILA, Philippines — The regional office of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) in Pangasinan is renting out a building that is owned by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed Wednesday.
Lacson said he has a copy of the contract of lease of the building located in Tapuac district in Dagupan City. The senator then pointed out that the signatory to the lease contract was Duque’s sister.
“If this is not conflict of interest, I don’t know what is,” Lacson said during the Kapihan sa Senado forum in Pasay City when asked if Duque is still off the hook amid investigation on controversies hounding PhilHealth.
“Building mo, naka-contract of lease ka, and that is a family corporation – educational and medical development corporation – tapos you’re a member of the board,” he added.
Duque is the ex-officio chairman of the PhilHealth board of directors.
Lacson said he initiated the investigation on PhilHealth after Duque “challenged” him.
“He (Duque) challenged me to do something so I did something… This is just the start of some extensive research or investigation I am conducting not only against Secretary Duque,” Lacson said.
“Because ang talagang nakakainis sa isang opisyal ng gobyerno, alam mo na na ngang mali ka na nag-iipokrito ka pa,” he added.
Duque recently called out Lacson for bringing up an old controversy which, according to the health chief, had already been dismissed.
The Health Secretary was referring to the case of alleged misuse of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds.
In an earlier tweet, Lacson reminded President Rodrigo Duterte that Duque was involved in the alleged illegal use of P530 million OWWA funds to purchase PhilHealth cards that were distributed nationwide during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He noted that Duque is the PhilHealth president at the time.
“These are bits and pieces of information that are coming out that would really tell us, aside from those being published in the papers, ang dami pa talagang dumadating na mga information kaya umabot ng P200 billion over time ang na-squander na pondo ng PhilHealth,” Lacson said.
“I think we’re barely scratching the surface because it is our obligation as public officials, as elected senators, to get to the bottom of any corrupt act,” he added. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)