Duterte asks PhilHealth acting president, board members to resign

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte has asked Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) acting president Roy Ferrer and board members to submit their courtesy resignation, said senator-elect Bong Go on Monday, June 10.

Go made this announcement even before Duterte's scheduled meeting with the PhilHealth officials started in Malacañang.

"If Philhealth officials don't want to submit courtesy resignation, they will be terminated," said Go during a press conference near the Palace.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo confirmed after the meeting that this was indeed what the Chief Executive asked of Ferrer and the board members.

Duterte, said Panelo, "demanded for their courtesy resignation in order for the corporation to have a clean slate absent any taint of irregularity in rendering services as well as implementing pertinent policies on health, including the Universal Health Care Act."

Go, however, clarified after the meeting that Duterte still has to accept the resignations for them to take effect. Until this happens, Ferrer and the board members can continue with their work at PhilHealth.

"Until any action on their courtesy resignations is taken by the President, appointive officials shall continue to report for work and perform their normal duties and responsibilities," said Go.

Meanwhile, certain plantilla officials will be placed under the Office of the President while the scam is being investigated.

Go, a trusted Duterte aide, said he would suggest to the President that even PhilHealth regional vice presidents – the highest PhilHealth officials at the regional level – be replaced.

Go said Duterte is apportioning blame to PhilHealth officials based on the concept of "command responsibility."

The President's decision comes as no surprise after he announced on Saturday, June 8, that he was considering a "reshuffle" or "reorganization" of PhilHealth after it made payments to a wellness and dialysis center for kidney treatments intended for dead patients.

However, Duterte had vouched for Ferrer's integrity.

"I do not have the slightest doubt about the integrity and honesty of Roy Ferrer," he had said.

Panelo himself doubted Ferrer would be axed, based on Duterte's statement during the weekend.

"Given that he (President Duterte) has publicly acknowledged his trust on the president, I don't think there will be," Panelo had said Monday morning.

Duterte has also ordered PhilHealth management to file criminal complaints against PhilHealth employees involved in the scam. – Rappler.com 

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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