Cebu City Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa expressed confidence Monday that acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua can help resuscitate and restore the financial health of the embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
He rallied behind Chua’s possible appointment as new head of the State health insurer even as Malacañang said that the decision to name the replacement of PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales, who is battling cancer, is up to President Duterte.
"Any honest person with a degree of competence like Secretary Karl Chua can be trusted with resuscitating the PhilHealth's financial health from the corruption virus. The keyword is integrity,” he said in a text message.
Negros Oriental Rep. Manuel Sagarbarria, Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing, and Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers earlier backed Chua’s possible appointment as new PhilHealth Chief.
However, Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago said "change in leadership in PhilHealth will not be enough.”
She said President Duterte should address the "systematic and organized" corruption in PhilHealth.
"Duterte, Morales, and other corrupt officials in PhilHealth should be held accountable for the P15 billion corruption scandal,” Elago said.
She said in a Senate hearing, Morales, a retired Army brigadier general, had admitted that there is a "systemic" fraud and that it could not be solved in one year, or even in years to come.
The Makabayan lawmaker said the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission had submitted an initial report on its investigation and recommended the filing of graft and corruption cases against 36 high-ranking and mid-level officials of PhilHealth.
Citing the PACC executives, she said the PhilHealth’s financial loss is already over P153 billion since 2013 due to fraud.
"Kabataan partylist condemns the continuous and intensified corruption in PhilHealth under the Duterte regime and especially amid the pandemic when the Filipino people are in dire need of medical attention,” Elago said.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel 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.