By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
As the word war between two government officials heats up, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque told PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales that he was not interested in his post because it would be a demotion for him.
Roque made the statement after Morales alleged that Roque may be interested in heading the agency due to the former’s criticisms about Morales’s remarks about possibly deferring the implementation of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law.
In his Monday press briefing, Roque said he was not after Morales’s position.
“Sinasabi po ni General Morales interested daw po ata ako. Demotion po ‘yan, I’m not interested (General Morales was saying that I may be interested in his position. That would be a demotion. I’m not interested),” Roque said.
Roque likewise said the same about Senator Richard Gordon’s theory that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III was receiving a lot of criticism because there are people who are after his position.
“Wala naman akong nalalaman na nag-a-aspire to be Secretary of Health ngayong panahon na ito dahil ito po ang pinakamahirap na trabaho sa panahon ng COVID (I’m not aware of any person aspiring to be the Health Secretary especially now that it’s become the hardest job because of COVID-19),” he said.
“Parang kahit gaano ka ka-ambisyoso, napakahirap namang ambisyunin ng ganyang trabaho (No matter how ambitious you are, you wouldn’t want to be in that position),” he added.
Over the weekend, Roque asked Morales to be more circumspect in making remarks about the UHC law, especially at the time when people affected by COVID-19 are relying on PhilHealth.
The Palace official added that he would take it personally because the UHC Law, according to him, is his “single most important contribution” to the country.
Roque maintained that only President Duterte and the Congress could defer the implementation of the UHC Law.
Meanwhile, Roque said that it was now up to President Duterte to decide on the issue after Morales said that it was premature for both of them to meet with the President without a concrete solution on how to conserve PhilHealth’s funds.