Philippine health secretary Francisco Duque III – under fire for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic – has been spared the axe by President Rodrigo Duterte, who approved criminal cases against several other officials from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The Senate had previously investigated irregularities at PhilHealth – the state agency paying for medical care and Covid-19 testing, which Duque chairs – that included improper disbursal of funds earmarked for the…