Sotto wants PhilHealth officials reshuffled with 'good' businessman at helm

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 05 2020 08:26 PM

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III kicks off Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole hearing on the alleged irregular transactions of PhilHealth officials and the agency’s purported failure to release the insurance claims to its accredited hospitals, August 4, 2020. Joseph Vidal, Senate PRIB

MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday said the officials in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) had to be reshuffled with a "good" businessman leading the agency to eliminate corruption in the state-run insurance firm.

The government had appointed doctors and generals as PhilHealth presidents but allegations of corruption in the agency persist, Sotto told reporters in a virtual briefing.

"Businessman ang ilagay mo kasi ang PhilHealth ay negosyo," he said.

(A businessman should be appointed as PhilHealth chief because PhilHealth is a business.)

"Kung meron kang businessman na magaling, matino na tatanggapin yan... pipiliin mo yung businessman. Hindi mo maloloko sa pera ang businessman," he said.

(If you have a businessman who is good, smart, and is willing to accept the post... pick the businessman. You cannot fool a businessman when it comes to money.)

Sotto said San Miguel Corp chief Ramon Ang would be a good pick for PhilHealth president, but added that the billionaire may not want the job.

Other officials who have been linked to scams should be removed from the agency, instead of being promoted or transferred to other departments, the Senate President said.

"We have to clean it up first... Kailangan matanggal natin pati mga duda," he said.

(We have to remove the doubts.)

President Rodrigo Duterte will not sack PhilHealth chief executive officer Ricardo Morales unless there is evidence of his corrpution, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said.

The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission has recommended filing charges against 36 PhilHealth "high-ranking and mid-level" officials over violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The PACC did not say if Morales and other PhilHealth executives were included in the list.