MANILA (UPDATE)-- Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque on Wednesday questioned Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) chief Ricardo Morales on what he has done to address corruption in the agency, saying officials involved have yet to face any punishment.
Roque, speaking as the author of the Universal Health Care Law, fired off a series of tweets to question Morales' response to corruption within PhilHealth.
"...Bakit ni-isa, wala pa siyang nalilitis, ni-isa wala pa siyang natatanggal?" Roque, a former sectoral representative in Congress, said in a tweet.
(Why hasn't he investigated or removed anyone yet?)
"Tapos magrereklamo siya (Gen. Morales) na walang pera. Natural dahil ang mga buwaya, buhay na buhay pa rin diyan sa PhilHealth," he added.
(He complains that there are no funds. Of course, the crocodiles are still alive there in PhilHealth.)
On Tuesday, Morales told a joint Congressional Oversight hearing on the implementation of the UHC law that allowing Filipino migrant workers to permanently pay PhilHealth contributions on a voluntary basis will compromise the state health insurance system.
"The foundation of insurance is somebody must be paying for the benefit. It will compromise the fundamental argument for insurance if a segment of the membership will be voluntary because the other membership segments might also ask for the same privilege. Baka ma-kompromiso ang ating national health insurance program," he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered that premium payments from overseas Filipino workers be made voluntary during the COVID-19 pandemic following uproar from the sector.
In a text message to ABS-CBN News on Wednesday, Morales said over 20 PhilHealth executives are already facing charges.
He said the charges were filed by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, based on information provided by PhilHealth.
PhilHealth was earlier heavily criticized over reports of alleged misuse of state health insurance funds for bogus treatments such as the "ghost" dialysis scam.
In letting Morales lead PhilHealth, Duterte said in July last year that he wanted the retired military officer to rid the agency of corruption.
"These culprits will have their day of reckoning in court. I hope it happens during the last 3 years of my term," Duterte had said.
Following the President's remarks, it can be recalled that Morales vowed to "dismantle" the alleged "mafia" within the state-run health insurance firm.
At the time, he reshuffled executives tagged as "mafia" members while an internal investigation was underway.
Roque said Morales has been given ample time to investigate corruption within PhilHealth.
"Kinakailangan siya (Morales) mismo bilang bagong itinalaga at pinagkatiwalaan ni Presidente, linisin niya ang PhilHealth. Bakit ni-isa walang naparusahan, ni-isa walang natanggal?" Roque said.
(He should clean PhilHealth of corruption. Why hasn't he punished or removed anyone yet?)
"Dami kasing mga baboy na nilalamon ang kaban ng bayan diyan sa loob ng PhilHealth," he added.
(There are so many pigs inside PhilHealth benefitting from state coffers.)