By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte is set to accept the courtesy resignation of the president and board members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) over the issue of fraudulent claims made with the state insurance fund.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after the said PhilHealth officials turned in their resignations on June 11, a day after the President asked them to resign due to the recent controversies hounding the agency.
In an interview with Palace reporters Wednesday, Panelo said that Duterte will accept their resignation when he returns to Manila.
“That goes without saying siguro. He demanded [the] resignation. Bakit mo pinare-resign kung hindi mo tatanggapin? But hindi ko alam kung officially tinanggap (Why would you ask them to resign if you won’t accept it. But I am not sure if it was accepted officially already),” he said.
“Lahat naman ng resignation, unless na nilagay mo doon ‘irrevocable.’ Ibig sabihin tanggapin mo o hindi basta ako resigned (All resignations needed to be approved, unless you put there ‘irrevocable.’ It means I’m resigned whether you accept it or not),” he added.
Panelo then said that the positions in the PhilHealth will be deemed vacant once Duterte officially accepts their resignation.
Earlier, Duterte said he is thinking of reorganizing PhilHealth due to the huge amount lost by the state insurance fund to fraudulent claims which include claims for dialysis patients who were later discovered to be dead already.
On Monday, Duterte met with high-ranking PhilHealth officials. According to Panelo, Duterte expressed his sadness about the state of affairs of PhilHealth during the meeting in Malacañang. He said that while the President trusts and has no doubt on Ferrer’s integrity, Duterte now wants PhilHealth to have a clean slate.
President Duterte also directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the irregularities in the PhilHealth, assuring the public that they will get to enjoy PhilHealth’s services while the investigation is underway.
“President Duterte directed the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a full-scale investigation on the alleged irregularities concerning the past practices of PhilHealth,” he said Monday evening.
“We assure our people that the services of PhilHealth will remain unhampered as operations will continue and will be momentarily run by second-level officials pending the subject investigation,” he added.
Panelo also assured the public that corruption will not be tolerated by the Administration.
“There is zero tolerance on corruption under this Administration. There will be an in-depth study on how the frauds are systematically committed by unscrupulous persons in and out of PhilHealth. There will be criminal prosecutions of all those involved. No one will be spared,” he said.