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President firing PhilHealth chief in ‘humanitarian way’ — Sotto

President Duterte was firing Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales in a “humanitarian way” when he asked him to resign, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.

Sen. Vicente Sotto III (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, convenor of the Task Force PhiHealth formed to investigate the corruption claims against the state insurer, bared on Tuesday that the President took note of Morales’ health and deemed it would be best for the latter “to give up his post.”

“It’s a humanitarian way of saying ‘you’re fired’,” Sotto, who led the Senate Committee of the Whole which recently investigated the alleged corruption and irregularities in PhilHealth, told reporters in a message Tuesday night.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said he still feels sorry for the beleaguered PhilHealth chief as he admitted that the “intense” Senate hearings may have affected his health.

He said that despite Morales’ “possible complicity that could make him face some serious legal problems,” he still wishes for his recovery from cancer.

Morales is currently on leave due to his ongoing treatment for lymphoma, or cancer of the lymph nodes.

Senators had called for the preventive suspension of PhilHealth top officials, including Morales, for the unhampered probe on the government corporation which faced new allegations of corruption, fraud, and funds mismanagement.

During the Senate hearings, the retired general was questioned for his supposed failure to weed out corrupt PhilHealth officials as President Duterte had ordered when he was appointed to the post last year. He promoted some of them despite their involvement in previous controversies, saying he was not aware of it.

He also defended the management’s planned procurement of the allegedly overpriced information technology equipment.

Morales had maintained that the “systemic” fraud and corruption in the agency is not easy to solve.

Sotto said he is still preparing the Committee of the Whole’s report on its legislative inquiry. He said he could sponsor it for plenary discussion and approval next week.

“Our report and findings will most probably coincide with the DOJ’s investigation,” Sotto said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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