PhilHealth chief Morales resigns

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 26) — Embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corporation President and CEO Ricardo Morales tendered his resignation on Wednesday following President Rodrigo Duterte's advice.

Duterte has received Morales' resignation letter, Malacañang confirmed in a statement.

"We are still awaiting President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's further action/instruction on the matter," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Duterte has been pressed to sack Morales for months now after allegations of corruption and fraudulent schemes within the state insurer cropped up in June. But he has refused to fire the former military man pending solid proof.

On Tuesday night, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra revealed that the President in a meeting took note of Morales' medical condition, "and stated that it would be best for the latter and for PhilHealth to give up his post during these critical times for the agency."

Morales on August 10 said he filed for medical leave as he had been undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma. Two days later, he suddenly left a House probe on PhilHealth issues, citing his medical condition.

The President ordered a multi-agency task force to investigate the alleged irregularities within PhilHealth. Based on its ongoing investigation, it has identified the "centers of fraud" in the agency.

Guevarra — whose agency leads the investigation team — said they plan to recommend structural reforms and the possibility of a partial or even total reorganization of the state health insurer.

The Justice Secretary said that as of the moment, the probe team has been zeroing in on four specific areas which may have had links to the alleged fraud and irregularities within the agency. These include PhilHealth’s information technology (IT) system, legal sector, Interim Reimbursement Mechanism or IRM, and its financial management.