Chua as PhilHealth chief backed

Lawmakers backed Thursday  the proposed appointment of acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua as the new head of the embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua

Negros Oriental Rep. Manuel Sagarbarria, Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing, and Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers fully agreed with the proposal made by Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri Wednesday.

"I do support Sen.  Zubiri's proposal. Chua is a very good choice,” Sagarbarria said in a text message.

Suansing, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Ways and Means,  also vouched for Chua’s untainted credibility and character, making him a “perfect” successor of PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales.

"Aside from his academic records and training, I worked with Sec. Karl in passing the Sugar Sweetened Beverages Law and I saw his compassion and dedication in his job. I am a witness of how he works (working while we are on long flights),” she said in a text message.

"Even in simple things like being conscious with time, he makes sure that time is not wasted and he is working beyond working hours. An indication that he does not cheat the government by the salary he is earning,” she added.

Barbers agreed with his colleagues, saying that Chua’s finance or corporate background  and his  "unquestionable" character and credibility make him perfect caretaker of PhilHealth.

However, House Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte rejected Zubiri's proposal, saying that Chua should stay to lead the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“NEDA Secretary Karl Chua is definitely qualified to lead PhilHealth, but he is best able to serve the country by being a member of the economic team serving as the secretary of NEDA. Everyone in Congress appreciates all the work he puts in previously under the DoF and now under NEDA. It's very easy working with Sec. Karl and we need him more in NEDA,” he said.

In an online interview Wednesday, Zubiri said PhilHealth should be headed by "a finance expert from the private sector or a finance expert” with “unquestionable” credibility like Chua.

He said he never heard of any complaint when it comes to Chua’s credibility or his work ethic.