President Rodrigo Duterte will not fire Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales unless there is evidence linking the retired general to corruption.
Palace spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after CNN-Philippines asked him if Morales should resign or take leave amid the investigation on alleged corruption in PhilHealth.
“That’s really up to him. I am not in the position to tell him what to do. The President has said that he will not fire him unless there is evidence, and I think the Senate now is in the process of documenting this evidence,” Roque said.
“At the same time, there is a parallel investigation being conducted by Undersecretary [Jesus Melchor] Quitain.”
“I think after the evidence are unearthed, the President will move and do the correct thing,” Roque added.
Morales was appointed as the president of PhilHealth in June 2019 amid the issue of alleged funding of dialysis treatment for patients who already died.
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“I have no evidence that he is corrupt himself. But when he was placed there by the President to replace a previous board and a previous president because of the WellMed scam, our expectation is he will take concrete steps to rid the agency of corruption,” Roque said.
“I did not hear steps that he has taken to remove corruption in the agency. That, to me, is the most worrisome,” he added.
PhilHealth officials are currently facing investigation in the Senate over alleged overpriced information and technology (IT) budget.
Morales said whistle-blower former anti-fraud officer Thorsson Montes Keith is only accusing the agency’s officials of corruption because he did not get the promotion.
“Specifically about Attorney Thorsson, I always said he was vengeful because I refused to give him a position that I think he was not qualified,” Morales said.
“Right now, ngayon ho na umalis siya sa PhilHealth, meron hong apat na complaint sa kanya, sexual harassment, so he is not qualified for the position that he applied,” he added.