Duterte has no plan yet to appoint new PhilHealth chief

Duterte has no plan yet to appoint new PhilHealth chief

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has no plan yet to replace Ricardo Morales after the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) president and chief executive officer filed a medical leave, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

“Kung magtatalaga po ng bagong president ng PhilHealth si Presidente, wala pang sinabi ang Presidente (Whether the President will appoint new PhilHealth president, the President has not said that yet),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual press briefing.

On Aug. 7, Duterte ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to lead a task force to investigate the supposed widespread corruption and irregularities within PhilHealth.

Duterte directed the task force to make an audit of the PhilHealth finances and conduct lifestyle checks on the state corporation’s officials and employees.

Amid controversies hounding PhilHealth, Morales filed a medical leave following his doctor’s advice to undergo six cycles of chemotherapy at a private hospital in Metro Manila.

Morales’ medical certificate signed by his oncologist cited his “diagnosed case of Diffuse Large B cell lymphoma.”

No ‘leadership vacuum’

Morales’ health condition has prompted calls for his resignation.

Roque, however, reiterated that Duterte still trusts Morales despite several issues plaguing PhilHealth.

He said Morales still enjoys Duterte’s trust and confidence, unless evidence proves that the PhilHealth chief is also involved in corrupt activities.

“Ang sinasabi ni Presidente, kilala niya bilang isang marangal na sundalo itong si General Morales. Nais niyang makita ang ebidensya (The President keeps on saying that he knows that Morales, as a former military officer, is a respectable person),” Roque said.

Roque was also confident that there would be no “leadership vacuum” in PhilHealth.

He said the services of PhilHealth will remain unhampered despite the corruption issues that continue to plague the state-run health insurance agency.

“Kahit ano po ang maging desisyon ni General Morales, meron po talagang systems in place para magpatuloy ang trabaho ng kahit anong organisasyon sa gobyerno (Whatever General Morales decision will be, systems are in place to ensure that services in any government office remain unhampered),” Roque said.

For now, Duterte wishes Morales “speedy recovery,” Roque said.

“We wish him (Morales) the best and we hope that he recovers right away,” he said.

In a public address delivered Monday, Duterte said he would go after corrupt PhilHealth officials.

Duterte’s statement came following the revelation of resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud legal officer Thorsson Montes Keith that around PHP15 billion of the agency’s funds have been allegedly pocketed by PhilHealth officials.

Duterte said “innocent” PhilHealth personnel should just continue working. (PNA)

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