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Morales, Roque swap insults

The head of the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. on Friday welcomed Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque’s suggestion that someone else implement the Universal Health Care Law, saying maybe Roque would want to take his place.

READ: Palace quizzes PhilHealth on ‘pricey’ test kits; P8-billion loss bared

“What I can say to Attorney Roque is, be my guest. My family will be very grateful if they can find somebody else-maybe him,” PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Ricardo Morales told GMA News Online.

“No problem with me, but he’s not the President, he’s the spokesman. These are two different things.”

Roque said Morales was dodging the issue.

“The remarks of PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Morales are yet another attempt to divert attention from a damaging issue, which is that the PhilHealth head has failed to clean up the agency, which was the mandate given to him by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” Roque said in a statement.

Roque said Morales was dodging the issue about his alleged inaction in fighting corruption in PhilHealth, and had taken things personally.

Morales said he would rather not bother the President about the issue as Duterte had more serious problems at hand.

“We’re still working on the solution. I think it’s premature to bother the President. We should come to him with the solution. That has not yet been obtained. Too early to bother the President with this,” Morales told ANC’s Headstart.

Morales had recommended delaying the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law, citing the lack of funds.

But Roque questioned his alleged inaction over the corruption issues within the agency.

Roque, a former sectoral representative, is among the principal authors of the law, which aims to ensure the access of all Filipinos to health care.

“I have looked for that P154 billion from day 1. I have not found it. I’ve asked the Commission on Audit, the Insurance Commission, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission. It remains unsubstantiated,” Morales said.

He was referring to Roque’s claim that P154 billion in PhilHealth funds had been lost to corruption.

“Secretary Roque does not have access to the operating figures of PhilHealth, so I wonder where he got those figures,” Morales said.

He earlier told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo that there had been errors in the processing of claims, but the losses had not been as large as the amount being claimed by Roque.

He says PhilHealth is processing 50,000 claims a day, and that some of those are being processed manually.

He challenged Roque to take his allegations to court.

“If he has evidence, then he should file it in court so we can find out those involved and recover the money if it’s true,” Morales said.

READ: Plan to defer UHC Act rejected

READ: PhilHealth extends payment deadline

Topics: Philippine Health Insurance Corp. , Harry Roque , Universal Health Care Law , Ricardo Morales
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