Palace welcomes ‘willingness of the House’ to give Duterte emergency powers to fix PhilHealth

By: Krissy Aguilar – Reporter / @KAguilarINQ

Malacañang has welcomed the “willingness of the House of Representatives” to grant President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to address corruption issues plaguing the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) even if it has yet to see details of the proposal.

In an online briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said he still cannot comment on the matter because he has not seen yet the lower chamber’s recommendation.

Nevertheless, he said: “Well, we welcome the willingness of the House of Representatives to give such emergency powers to the President.”

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and newly appointed PhilHealth chief Dante Gierran have expressed support to the proposal of the House public accounts committee.

But the Senate leadership was lukewarm about the idea.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Thursday that Duterte already has vast authority to deal with the matter. They believe that the Chief Executive no longer needs emergency powers to solve corruption issues in PhilHealth.

The President himself has formed an inter-agency task force led by the Department of Justice to look into the alleged anomalies in the state-run insurance company.

Among the irregularities being probed are the release of funds to hospitals under PhilHealth’s Interim Reimbursement Mechanism and its supposed “overpriced” information technology project.

Earlier this week, the Senate already recommended the filing of charges against Duque, recently resigned PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales and other PhilHealth officials for alleged misuse of the state insurer’s funds.


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