Roque answers Gordon: I speak on behalf of the President
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday answered Senator Richard Gordon’s jab over his alleged “meddling” in the issue of debt between the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), saying he is speaking on behalf of President Duterte.
“Hindi naman ho tayo nanghihimasok sa issue ng PhilHealth at ng Philippine Red Cross. Kaya nga lang po, nagsasalita tayo sa ngalan ng ating Presidente,” Roque said in a televised press briefing.
“At importante po talaga kay Presidente Duterte ang testing dahil alam po natin na napakaimportanteng kabahagi ito ng ating istratehiya laban sa COVID-19—ang malawakang COVID-19 testing,” he added.
The PRC temporarily suspended accommodating COVID-19 tests charged to PhilHealth since October 14 because of the state insurer’s over P930-million debt.
Gordon, who sits as PRC chair, said the Palace official has no business in making statements about the issue.
“Walang pakialam si Secretary Roque rito. Panay ang bira niya e. Wala siyang pakialam diyan. Hindi siya kasali,” Gordon said.
“Siya nga ang unang tinest namin nung nagpunta sila dun, palakpak siya nang palakpak e. Sabi niya ‘Ang galing nito, ang galing nito.’ Nagpa-test kaagad pati asawa niya,” he added.
But according to Roque, he has an “interest” in the issue being one of the proponents of the Universal Healthcare Law.
Bukod pa po dito, ang inyong abang lingkod naman po ay alam naman natin na tayo ang kauna-unahang nagsulong ng Universal Healthcare bill sa mababang kapulungan noong 17th Congress,” he said.
“Dahil dito po meron naman pa tayong interes na siguruhin na ginagawa ng Philhealth ang kanyang katungkulan dahil sila po ang nagpapatupad ng Universal Healthcare at ito pong testing ay isa po sa mandato talaga ng Universal Healthcare,” he added.
The humanitarian organization has resumed its COVID-19 testing services after PhilHealth made a P500-million partial payment for its debt.
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