MANILA - Malacañang on Sunday said "there is no turning back" in the investigation of a task force ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte on alleged corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) amid reports that some of its officials may skip the continuation of the Senate's probe this week.
"We leave it to the Senate, a separate co-equal branch, to comment on reports that officials of PhilHealth may skip their hearing, scheduled on August 11, for medical / health reasons," Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
"As far as the Executive is concerned, the Task Force organized by the Department of Justice, upon the instruction of... Duterte, will proceed in its mandate to investigate...," Roque added.
PhilHealth CEO and president Ricardo Morales has been advised by his doctor to take a leave while undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma.
Executive Vice President and COO Arnel De Jesus also sought to be excused from the next Senate hearing, citing several illnesses.
The DOJ's task force will also look into the PhilHealth's finances and conduct lifestyle checks on the firm's officials and employees, Roque said.
"And if warranted, to recommend the preventive suspension on any official to ensure that the probe of the Task Force would be unhampered," he added.
The task force has 30 days after its constitution to "submit its findings and recommendations to the Office of the President."
The President's anti-crime commission last week said it has submitted an initial report on its corruption investigation on PhilHealth, with cases being prepared against 36 "high-ranking and mid-level" officials over violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.