The enigma that is Duque

The enigma that is Duque

By Junex Doronio

WHO’S AFRAID of Dingkoy Duque? Is he some kind of a demigod who cannot be shaken and removed from his pedestal by mere mortals?

Dingkoy is, of course the nickname of Francisco Duque III, scion of a very wealthy family who appears coy and—to his faithful patrons—incorruptible.

According to a news report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) started incurring losses in 2004 due to the non-payment of premiums after then CEO Health Secretary Francisco Duque III launched the distribution of 5 million insurance cards, which bore the picture of then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, ahead of the elections then.

“Yun po ang unang dahilan ng pagkalugi ng PhilHealth (That’s the reason PhilHealth went bankrupt),” Dennis Adre, Regional Vice President in Davao City, said during the Tuesday resumption of the Senate probe on alleged corruption in PhilHealth.

Some kibitzers described the reported graft as “stinking corruption hazardous to public health.” Ironically, the assuming opposition leader Vice President Leni Robredo disagreed with the clamor for the resignation of Duque III, saying she believes doing so could further hurt the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Two months ago, in an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source, presidential spokesman Harry Roque revealed that the President “is very close to the brother of Sec. Duque, Atty. Gonz Duque.” But on Wednesday, Senator Bong Go heeded the President’s challenge for him to go after corrupt government officials and warned that there should be accountability on the alleged graft within PhilHealth.

Duque has been serving as Health Secretary since 2017. He also previously served as DOH chief from 2005 to 2010 under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. From 2010 to 2015, he was the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission.

Will Dingkoy last long? (IA/DS)

Featured photo: DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III

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