Sotto: Duterte 'agrees' to assign finance chief as PhilHealth board chair

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 16 2020 09:39 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte agrees with the proposal to replace Health Secretary Francisco Duque III with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III as chair of the PhilHealth board. file


MANILA-- President Rodrigo Duterte "agrees" with Senate President Vicente Sotto III's proposal to install the finance secretary as chair of the board of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) as the state-run health insurer continues to grapple with corruption allegations, the senator said Wednesday.

The President met with the heads of Congress--Sotto and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano--on Wednesday night in Malacañang to discuss proposed laws addressing corruption and red tape or excessive bureaucracy.

Controversies surrounding PhilHealth were also discussed during the meeting, Duterte's former aide Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go said.

Sotto, in a tweet, said Duterte "agrees" with his proposal to install the finance secretary as chair of the PhilHealth board, replacing the health secretary. Go echoed Sotto's remarks.

"Nabanggit niya OK naman," Go told reporters in a message when asked about the proposal.

(He mentioned that he was OK with it.)

Should the proposal push through, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III will take over the chairmanship of the PhilHealth board from Health Secretary Francisco Duque III who has been criticized over corruption in the state health insurer amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week, Duterte approved the recommendations of a multi-agency task force he formed to file charges against several executives of PhilHealth, including its former president Ricardo Morales.

Go said Duterte is giving Morales' replacement, Dante Gierran, a "chance" until the end of the year to address issues surrounding PhilHealth.

"If wala pa rin (if there is no improvement), study [the] possibility of disbanding PhilHealth or amending," Go said in a message to reporters.