Malacañang said placing new blood in the embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is a decision that only President Duterte can make.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri suggested appointing National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) acting Secretary Karl Chua as the new head of the agency.
According to Zubiri, Chua would be able to detect any discrepancies in the release of the PhilHealth funds, adding that Chua’s credibility and work ethic is unquestionable.
However, Roque said that the decision is up to Duterte.
“Alam niyo, pagdating po sa appointment talagang tanging Presidente lang po ang makakasagot niyan (You know, when it comes to appointments, it’s only the President who can answer that),” he said in his Saturday virtual presser.
“Miski ako po ay tagapagsalita, wala po akong kapangyarihang sumagot diyan dahil (Even I, the spokesperson, has no power to answer that because the) appointment is exclusively the prerogative of the President,” he added.
PhilHealth is the subject of many investigations over alleged corruption activities, including one by a task force led by the Department of Justice (DoJ) as ordered by the President.
Embattled PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales is on medical leave but Malacañang said that the investigation on the agency will continue.
According to Roque, Duterte still trusts Morales and the Chief Executive is awaiting the result of the task force.
He added that the President did not want to put any more pressure on Morales who is battling cancer while answering corruption allegations.