Roque backs Duterte arrest order vs clinic in 'ghost' dialysis scandal

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 08 2019 11:43 AM | Updated as of Jun 08 2019 12:04 PM

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MANILA - Lawyer Harry Roque on Saturday expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte's order to arrest owners of a dialysis center that allegedly claimed state health insurance payments for patients who were already dead.

Speaking to radio DZMM, Roque, Duterte's former spokesperson, said he was confident as the President has a stringent policy against corruption.

"Kaya naman malakas ang loob naming ilabas ito dahil alam ko pong mayroong zero policy towards corruption ang presidente at lalo na po kapag ang lulustayin ay pera para sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan alam ko po na ang talagang solusyon ay ang sinabi ng presidente: ipakulong lahat 'yan," Roque said in an interview on DZMM.

(We are confident to expose this because I know that the president has zero policy towards corruption especially if the money being wasted is for the poor and that his solution would be to put them all in jail.)

Roque is the lawyer representing Edwin Roberto, a former employee of WellMed Dialysis Center in Quezon City. He alleged that the firm claimed payments from Philhealth for dead kidney patients.

The center allegedly forged signatures of patients in a scheme that ran from 2016 to 2018. The center, through its legal counsel, has denied the accusations.

Early Saturday, Duterte tasked the National Bureau of Investigation to make the arrests and lead the inquiry, including possible culpability of government employees.

Duterte also said he has ordered a revamp of the PhilHealth management in the wake of the scandal.

"Dapat po, dahil bukod sa kawalan ng mekanismo dapat ang nagpapatakbo may integridad, may kakayahan," said Roque.

(What should be done, because there is a lack of mechanism, the one managing it should have integrity and has the capability.)

Roque said PhilHealth's reaction has been a denial instead of accepting the criticism and looking for ways to prevent this from happening.

Meanwhile, Senator-elect Christopher "Bong" Go called on PhilHealth to "expedite its investigations on this issue and strengthen its mechanisms to end these forms of fraudulent acts."

"I commend the immediate filing of charges against the perpetrators but we should not stop until those guilty of such fraudulent acts are held accountable for their actions," he said in a statement.

He called the act of making false health insurance claims "shameful," as funds are wasted while millions of Filipinos count on government health aid.

Go, a public health advocate, is expected to head the Senate committee on health when he takes office.