JUNE 25, 2019 — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is facing plunder, graft, and breach of conduct complaints over a lease agreement entered by his family’s firm with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
The parents of some alleged Dengvaxia victims filed the complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman on June 21 with help from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).
In a 13-page complainr, Duque is accused of conflict of interest with regards to his alleged stock ownership of a 2,051.40-square-meter building leased to PhilHealth for its regional office in Dagupan City, Pangasinan.
The complainants have charged Duque with violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder.
Duque is a stockholder of Educational and Medical Development Corporation (EMDC), which housed the regional office of PhilHealth Region I for a monthly rent of P 529,261.20.
Even after Duque’s appointment as health secretary in 2017, and despite being “on leave” as director of the EMDC when the lease contract was executed, the complainants said Duque gained from the “exorbitant” monthly rental because he continued to hold substantial shares of stocks.
The contract was signed on May 2018, but was effective from January to December 2018. Duque was appointed health secretary on November 2017, and as secretary of Health he is also an ex-officio chairperson of PhilHealth.
The complainants likewise criticized Duque for his failure to act on and extend medical assistance to children who received the Dengvaxia vaccine.