MANILA – Employees of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Friday called for a caretaker committee to fill in the leadership vacuum after the resignation of its president and CEO Ricardo Morales and the preventive suspension of some of its officers.
“We are requesting President [Rodrigo] Duterte to appoint a caretaker who will replace all, the leadership vacuum in the corporation,” said Maria Fe Francisco, head of PhilHealth-Workers for Hope, Integrity, Transparency and Empowerment (WHITE).
Morales resigned as head of PhilHealth amid the ongoing investigations, citing health as his reason. Morales, a retired Army general, is battling cancer.
"We wish president Morales well kasi may sakit siya kaya nagbitiw. But we believe he will still have to appear physically in all these investigations," said Francisco.
The union also urged Duterte to also stop appointing people who are not qualified to head PhilHealth.
“Please stop appointing people who are not qualified kasi po ang ahensiya po ang natatamaan. Papalit-palit ng liderato kasi ‘di po qualified. They don’t know the road map,” Francisco said.
Francisco said their newly-accredited union has submitted a recommendation to the PhilHealth board for a caretaker committee.
“There is a leadership vacuum. Hindi lang po ang presidente ang nag resign. Our top posts have been vacated, there’s a leadership vacuum. We are requesting a caretaker committee of which labor is represented in that committee,” she said.
The PhilHealth board on Thursday named executive vice president and chief operating officer Arnel de Jesus as its officer-in-charge. De Jesus has been skipping the hearings at the Senate and the House of Representatives, citing health reasons.
“He is also sick. In fact, he hasn’t been able to attend the investigations. I don’t know if he can withstand pressure of all these anomalies and pressure,” she said.
She said De Jesus is also part of the executive committee being investigated now.
“We are hoping that somebody outside of the existing execom will be placed as the caretaker of the corporation,” she said.
The state health insurance corporation is facing widespread corruption allegations that have demoralized not only its members, but also its employees.
“Kami rin ay nagugulat na nakarating sa ganitong magnitude ang PhilHealth at ito ay nagdulot nga ng pagkuwestiyon ng mamamayan sa kredibilidad ng korporayon. Sweeping na yung allegations from all quarters na ang mga empleyado ng PhilHealth mga corrupt. Nagagalit sa amin ang mga tao kaya demoralized na mga empleyado, nalulungkot sa pangyayari at very unfair sa mga empleyado na nagtatrabaho araw-araw. We brave the virus para lang mapagsilbihan ang mga miyembro,” she said.
Meanwhile, they also called on lawmakers to put an end to the investigation and hold those responsible accountable.