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Tolentino furious with ‘promotion’ of corruption-linked PhilHealth execs: Imbes na sibakin, nag level-up pa!

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

MANILA – Administration Senator Francis Tolentino is furious with the supposed promotion of several top executives of the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) despite being marred with several corruption allegations.

During Tuesday’s inquiry of the Senate Committee of the Whole over various anomalies and corruption allegations in PhilHealth, Tolentino criticized the agency’s embattled chief Ricardo Morales for supposedly defying President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for resignation of key officials of the agency.

According to Tolentino, Morales failed to heed on Duterte’s order calling for the resignation of PhilHealth’s senior vice president and board members—a move that will pave way for the cleansing of its ranks.

“There was a directive coming from President Duterte sa lahat ng PhilHealth vice presidents to tender their courtesy resignation, was there a consequential action from the PhilHealth board requiring the VPs to quit,” said Tolentino.

In response, the PhilHealth chief cited the board resolution regarding the resignation of key officials, but it only reached the board members and not the vice presidents.

The PhilHealth CEO added he exercised discretion because the agency couldn’t function if all vice presidents will resign, arguing that no cases have been filed against them.

But Tolentino scolded Morales over his explanation, especially after learning that instead of resigning, the PhilHealth executives even got promoted last April.

“Kailangan po na maipaliwanag ito dahil ang sabi nyo mapa-paralyze kayo pag nawala sila eh pero na-promote pa?” said Tolentino.

Tolentino warned that the non-implementation of a board resolution is a clear “legal violation.”

Tolentino stressed that the resignation of key officials could have paved the way for needed reforms in the corporation amid serious allegations of corruption.

“Paano mangyayari ang hinihinging paglilinis at reporma sa Philhealth kung hindi sinunod ang utos ni Pangulong Duterte na mag-resign sila,” he said.

In the same inquiry, Tolentino also questioned the promotion of four PhilHealth officers involved in the Wellmed dialysis scam last year.

The lawmaker was referring to Cheryl Peña, Dr. Rizza Majella Herrera, Dr. Bernadette Lico and lawyer Recto Panti, who were promoted to department manager III last May 18.

“Walang tinanggal, walang na-suspend, na-promote pa,” a dismayed Tolentino stressed.

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