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Retired military general to get PhilHealth top post

MANILA, Philippines–Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday confirmed that retired Gen. Ricardo Morales is poised to take the helm of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) at a time when the state insurance firm is under fire for corruption as well as for failing to spot bogus claims.

“He is probably the best guy for the job,” Duque told the Inquirer in a text message on Thursday, confirming Morales’ upcoming assignment as the new PhilHealth acting president and chief executive officer.

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According to former Presidential aide and incoming Sen. Bong Go, President Rodrigo Duterte has already approved the appointment of Morales as next PhilHealth President.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said Dr. Jaime T. Cruz was being eyed to be the next PhilHealth president but Go said he was appointed as board member.

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Last week, Duterte sought the resignation of former PhilHealth chief Roy Ferrer as well as the six appointed board members following the Inquirer’s three-part investigative series on “ghost dialysis” treatments, overpayments and other fraudulent practices, and a “mafia” behind the padded claims.

READ: PhilHealth execs asked to submit courtesy resignation over dialysis mess

PhilHealth insiders said that Morales already had a “quick meeting” with some top officials of the agency Thursday morning.

Duque noted though that Morales’ designation isn’t official yet as they are still awaiting the appointment papers from Malacañang.

Nonetheless, he pointed out that the upcoming PhilHealth administration’s “priority is absolutely fraud prevention, detection and deterrence.”

A member of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement, Morales was assigned by Duterte barely a month ago as a member of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s Board of Trustees.

That term though is set to expire on June 30, since he is only serving the unexpired term of former board member Reynaldo Velasco.

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Morales has had a background on how to run an insurance firm since, after his retirement in 2009, he oversaw the operations of the Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association Inc., which provides insurance plans and loans, among others, to uniformed personnel.

Malacañang has yet to release Morales’ appointment paper as of this posting. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)

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TAGS: Duque, General Morales, Local news, Philhealth, Philippine news update
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