Union asks Duterte to assign ‘caretaker’ to PhilHealth after Morales cancer diagnosis
MANILA, Philippines — The rank-and-file union of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) on Sunday appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to temporarily assign a “caretaker” in the state insurer after its president and CEO, Ricardo Morales has been diagnosed with cancer.
Maria Fe Francisco, national president of the PhilHealth Workers for Hope, Integrity, Transparency, and Empowerment (White) said a temporary change in leadership was necessary as various government agencies, including both chambers of Congress, had launched separate investigations into the alleged irregularities in PhilHealth.
She said the latest multibillion-peso corruption scandal had already affected the mental and emotional condition of the ordinary employees of the government-owned insurance corporation.
“We… (ask) President Duterte to put in charge a caretaker who is an expert in the field of health insurance with proven integrity and incorruptibility,” Francisco said in a statement sent to the INQUIRER.
“By doing so, all doubts about whitewashing and coverup would be dispelled, and we would, therefore, be ensured of a fair and honest investigation that will weed out the guilty and not simply hang scapegoats,” she said.
In a letter sent to the Senate on Friday, Morales’ oncologist said she had advised the 67-year-old PhilHealth chief to take a leave of absence as he had to undergo chemotherapy after he was diagnosed with lymphoma.
Francisco said the state-run medical insurance agency needed a leader “who is not… under investigation. Someone devoid of vested interest.”
The union leader said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who chairs the PhilHealth board, should also be barred from exercising his authority for the meantime since he was among those being investigated.
“PhilHealth-White cannot be subservient to executives whose integrity is in question,” she said.
“We welcome the formation of an external investigating body, the conduct of a thorough audit and even lifestyle checks. We hope that this will flush out the corrupt among us and vindicate the honest and hardworking officers and employees,” she added.
Francisco stressed that the mounting allegations of anomalies in PhilHealth should be resolved “decisively and immediately” while she and her fellow PhilHealth employees continue to carry out their sworn duty to provide services to millions of members of the state insurer.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.