By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is looking into the conflict of interest allegations hurled against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III even as he continues to trust the Cabinet member, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo bared that an investigation on the issues raised against Duque by Senator Panfilo Lacson has been launched by the Office of the President.
“The SOP is any complaint as the President says that reaches his table will always be a subject of a serious investigation of the Office of the President,” he told reporters at the Palace.
Asked if the OP has started a probe on Duque, Panelo said: “I’m sure. Because the President, when he receives any serious allegations, he does it.”
“If the investigation shows that there has been a violation, then the President will know what to do,” he added.
He said any allegation of corruption, conflict of interest or any illegal act against a Cabinet member or government official is “always a serious concern of the office of the President.”
But for now, Panelo affirmed that Duque still enjoyed the trust and confidence of the President.
“He has responded to the questions on the issue of propriety so if there are complaint against him, an investigation will be undertaken,” Panelo said. “Until such time that there is no definite finding of any act which is in violation of the law the Secretary of Health still has the trusts and confidence of the President,” he said.
Lacson earlier expressed concern over the alleged conflict of interest involving Duque in certain government contracts.
The senator, in a privilege speech last Monday, claimed that Doctors Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company supposedly owned by the Duque family, cornered contracts with the Department of Health for medicine supplies.
Duque, however, has denied Lacson’s allegations, saying he had already divested himself from any interest in the company in 2006.