Roque happy to announce firings at PhilHealth

Published August 8, 2020, 9:18 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque is only too happy having been tasked to announce possible names to be axed among PhilHealth officials deeming it the “highlight” of his career.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Roque made the statement after President Duterte ordered Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to form a task force to probe the alleged corruption activities in PhilHealth.

In his Friday presser, Roque said “Feeling ko po, executioner na ako ng mga taong gobyerno, taga-anunsiyo na kung sino na naman ang sisibakin (I feel that I am now the executioner of people in government. I’m the one announcing who’s getting sacked).”

“I will be delighted to announce, in due course, kung sino ang sususpindihin at kung sino ang sisibakin sa (the people who will be suspended and fired from) PhilHealth. That would be the most delightful experience in my career as Presidential Spokesperson,” he added.

Roque has personal beef with PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales especially after the latter said the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law could be suspended so PhilHealth can conserve its resources.

In a radio interview with DZBB in June, Roque said, “Mag-ingat po siya sa mga binabanggit niya dahil ako po talaga, ‘yan talaga ang single most important contribution ko sa bansang ‘to (He should be careful with what he is saying, because that law is the single most important contribution I did for this country).”

“I will take it personally (if) someone like General Morales na pinumumunuan ang PhilHealth ang magsasabi na hindi niya ipapatupad ang batas (who leads Philhealth will say that he will not implement the law),” he added.

Meanwhile, referring to the investigation being conducted by the Senate, the Office of the Special Assistant to the President, and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission on PhilHealth, Roque told CNN Philippines, “I’m hoping that all these investigations will document the evidence that the President wants to see.”

According to Roque, Morales basically admitted in the Senate hearing that he was unable to stop corruption in PhilHealth, something that was expected of him when he was appointed by President Duterte last year.

“Let’s just say he has articulated in the Senate that he is unable to actually deal with corruption in Philhealth. The [PhilHealth] President should have the resources to deal with corruption,” he said.

“Any president of PhilHealth should be able to say ‘I know what to do with corruption in the agency and I will do it,'” he added.

He said the truth about the corruption in PhilHealth will soon be uncovered.

“We can only keep the stench from coming out for a brief period of time but you can’t actually prevent it from seeping out and that is what’s happening now,” Roque said.

“The truth is being uncovered and I will just say that I’m very supportive of the investigations that are conducted in a manner that accords General Morales and everyone in PhilHealth the right to due process,” he added.