Roque disavows interest in being next PhilHealth chief

Published August 27, 2020, 3:33 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque is not interested in vying to become the next president of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

A day after PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales tendered his resignation, Roque, known for his advocacy on universal health care, said he was already busy with his work as the President’s spokesman.

“I’m the Presidential spokesperson. I’m busy with my job right now,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing when asked if he was ready to take over PhilHealth.

Roque maintained that there is no shortage of possible candidates to become the next PhilHealth chief and facilitate the cleanup and recovery of the firm.

“There are already names being considered pero nag-iingat po ang Pangulo (but the President is being careful),” he said when asked about the replacement of Morales.

Roque maintained that the next PhilHealth chief must not only have integrity but must also possess effective managerial skills to lead the corporation and safeguard its funds.

“Wala pong kakulangan pagdating doon sa mga nais magsilbi pero siyempre pinipili po ni Pangulo kung sino iyong mayroon talagang kuwalipikasyon para maibangon muli ang PhilHealth kumbaga (There is no shortage of people who can serve but the President will chose someone who has qualifications to facilitate PhilHealth’s recovery),” ehh aid.

“Kinakailangan ang maa-appoint niya diyan magiging kabalikat niya sa pagbabalik-tiwala ng taumbayan sa PhilHealth, paglilinis ng PhilHealth nang magkaroon po ng katuparan iyong ating isinulong na Universal Healthcare at magkaroon po ng katuparan ang libreng pagamot at gamot para sa lahat ng Pilipino (The person to be appointed will be the President’s partner in restoring public trust in PhilHealth, cleaning up PhilHealth so the universal health care program, free healthcare and medicines for all Filipinos will be attained),” he said.

The President has accepted the resignation of Morales and expressed hope he will soon recover from his ailment, according to Roque.

Roque, an author of the universal health care law when he was a member of the House of Representatives, previously lashed out against Morales for his alleged weak efforts to clean up the firm and run after those involved in any fraudulent schemes.

Before rejoining the President’s team last April, he also pursued complaints, while serving as legal counsel of two whistleblowers in the alleged ghost dialysis treatment scam in PhilHealth. He also filed a case against some PhilHealth officials over their alleged inaction in the issuance of fake receipts to overseas Filipino workers.

Roque earlier said he was also in favor of the abolition of corruption-tainted PhilHealth. He suggested the creation of another agency to replace PhilHealth, which was established in 1995.