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Baka matauhan Ombudsman: Tito Sotto ‘dumbfounded’ by Duque’s exclusion from raps over Philhealth fund mess

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Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said Tuesday (September 15) he was “dumbfounded” by the exclusion of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III from the list of government officials that an inter-agency task force recommended for prosecution over the alleged anomalies in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Sotto said he was also surprised that no charges were recommended against former PhilHealth senior vice president for legal sector Rodolfo del Rosario.

“No Duque? No Del Rosario? I’m dumbfounded! Article 217 (Malversation) of the [Revised Penal Code] is very clear,” he said in a text message.

“Perhaps the Ombudsman would have a better perspective of the anomalies,” Sotto added.

Sotto is the chair of the Senate committee of the whole which investigated the alleged anomalies in Philhealth. The panel recommended the filing of graft and malversation charges against Duque and other former and current Philhealth officials due to the supposed irregularities in the implementation of the Internal Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM).

Duque has distanced himself from the controversy, saying he was not part of the Philhealth board’s deliberations on the IRM. Sotto, however, said the Health Secretary cannot claim innocence as he is the ex-officio chairman of the Philhealth board.

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