Palace: PhilHealth senior execs asked to resign

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 02 2020 10:30 AM | Updated as of Oct 02 2020 04:27 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) -- The chief of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp has asked its senior executives to resign as the state medical insurer battled allegations of corruption, Malacañang said Friday. 

PhilHealth president and CEO Dante Gierran "knows that he does not have much time and that’s why I think it was important for him to request all the senior executives to file their courtesy resignation," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque told CNN Philippines. 

"That’s the fastest way that he can reorganize," Roque said. 
 
"We support this initiative of Atty. Gierran. We are confident that he will have very good information that will guide him on whose resignation to accept... I hope, too, that he will be guided by the Senate findings, as well as the findings of Task Force PhilHealth," he added. 

Gierran's order covers officials with a Salary Grade of 26 or higher, and all vice presidents and senior vice presidents nationwide, Roque said in a separate radio interview. 

"Iyong mga wala naman pong mga pananagutan, iyong hindi naman po nangurakot wala po silang dapat ikatakot dahil alam ko naman po na iyong desisyon ni Atty. Gierran kung sinong mananatili ay ibabase po niya sa ebidensiya," he said. 

(Those who have no liability, who were not corrupt, they should have nothing to fear because the decision of Atty. Gierran would be based on evidence.) 

A Senate panel in September recommended the filing of criminal charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, chairman of the PhilHealth board, and several several former and incumbent officials of the insurer over alleged anomalies. 

Whistleblowers had told lawmakers that PhilHealth officials allegedly pocketed P15 billion in state funds, and approved the request of overpriced projects and fund release to supposedly favored hospitals. 

Also last month, President Rodrigo 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. 

Gierran on Thursday rejected a proposal to privatize PhilHealth, saying this would "send the wrong signal." 

Privatization of PhilHealth "goes against the very principle of universal health care," said Roque. 

"Universal health care is distinguished from private health insurance, because it is number one, the discharge of state obligation to promote the right to health, and it is a commitment that although members will have to pay their dues... the balance will be paid more government by the government," he said.