While counsel for scandal whistleblowers, Roque says not after PhilHealth post

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 11 2019 11:05 AM | Updated as of Jun 11 2019 11:23 AM

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MANILA – Lawyer Harry Roque on Tuesday clarified he is not after the Philippine Health Insurance Corp's (PhilHealth) top post even while he helped whistleblowers expose the ghost dialysis insurance claim scam.

"I don't want PhilHealth. My concern is, I'm no longer in Congress. I passed four significant laws and the best is the Universal Health Care," Roque told ANC's Headstart on Tuesday.

Roque, as sectoral lawmaker, was among sponsors of the Universal Health Care law in Congress. President Rodrigo Duterte signed the measure in February.

"I want to leave this as my legacy to the Filipino people if I were to retire completely from public life and I want this to succeed," Roque said.

Roque is representing whistleblowers Edwin Roberto and Liezel Santos who exposed alleged activities of their former employer WellMed Dialysis Center which purportedly claimed payments for kidney treatments of patients who were already dead.

Their exposé, which first came out in the broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer, also saw Roque's return to public eye since his withdrawal from the senatorial race following a heart procedure. He had resigned as Duterte's spokesperson for the bid.

Last week, in light of the scandal, Duterte said he would reorganize Philhealth. He also asked Philhealth officials to resign.

Duterte appointed PhilHealth President Roy Ferrer last year after letting go of Celestina Ma. Jude Dela Serna, who got embroiled in a controversy over her supposedly excessive expenses on trips and hotel accommodations.

"I'd like to thank the President in all that. My point in exposing all this, unless we rid Philhealth of corruption, then Universal Health Care [law] will never succeed," he said.

When asked if he is going back to the cabinet, Roque said it would be up to the President.

"That's really the President's decision. Sabi ko nga kay Dr. Ferrer 'wag kayong mag-alala, kung ako'y magnanais siguro naman kapareho ng ranggo ko na inalisan which was a cabinet post (I told Dr. Ferrer don't worry, if ever I want to come back it's for a post with the same rank that I left, which was a cabinet post," he said.