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Ping bares ‘most abused statement’ at DOH, PHilHealth

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If there were an award for the most abused statement, it would likely go to the Department of Health and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Thursday this pertains to the heads of both agencies refusing to resign despite being linked to corruption or incompetence – or both.

“The most abused statement: ‘I serve at the pleasure of the President’. Sometimes the President cannot decide to fire an official out of so many reasons, mostly personal. Pero di ba dapat tulungan na lang ang Presidente, huwag na maghirap mag-decision?” Lacson said in an interview on CNN Philippines.

He was at the time replying to a question on whether PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales should resign or take a leave of absence while corruption in PhilHealth is being probed.

Lacson said the decision to take a leave or resign altogether would depend on the person’s sense of propriety.

“There are persons sensitive to the issue of propriety na kaunting issue they decide to take a leave of absence. But there are also people they’d rather say ‘I serve at the pleasure of the President,’” he said.

Health secretary Francisco Duque III had repeatedly used this line when asked if he would resign from his post in the wake of scandals hitting his agency.

On the other hand, Lacson noted Morales appeared to take his cue from Malacanang, saying at first he is considering taking a leave but later on staying at his post after Malacanang indicated he enjoys the President’s trust.

“Fourteen of us (senators) not too long ago called for (Duque’s) resignation. He did not. Pag nakarinig na ng statement of support from Malacanang lumalakas ang loob just like President Morales. Sabi niya he’s considering taking a leave of absence. But when Malacanang through Sen Go expressed full trust and confidence ng Presidente sa kanya nagbago ang tono, sabi niya I have not finished my job,” Lacson said.

Meanwhile, Lacson said President Rodrigo Duterte may want to take a look at the transcript of the Senate hearing last Tuesday.

He said Duterte had been quoted as saying that unless he sees clear evidence or proof of corruption against Morales, he won’t fire him.

“Gusto niya, padala namin sa kanya buong transcript of what transpired and concentrate on the responses of Morales and the other resource persons, yung members ng execom ng PhilHealth, and it is up for him to judge,” he said.

“Sabi niya noong araw just a whiff of corruption pag nakaamoy ka lang, you’re fired. This is not just a whiff of corruption. Very disappointing. Of course we do not question the authority of the President, yung hire and fire authority is always there, he is the President of the PH. In the final analysis, the buck stops, so they say, at his table. Pero kung ganito may pandemya na pagkatapos ganyan marinig natin, ako I was shocked,” he added.

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