Duterte creates task force to probe PhilHealth anomalies

Pia Ranada
(UPDATED) The president orders the Justice Secretary to form the task force which will probe the controversy-racked state insurer

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the creation of a task force to investigate alleged corruption at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced on Friday, August 7.

“The President issued a memorandum order addressed to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to form a task force to investigate anomalies here in PhilHealth,” he said in Filipino during a virtual press briefing.

The task force would include as members the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, Office of the Executive Secretary, Palace Undersecretary Melchor Quitain, and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.

The task force would have the power to conduct lifestyle checks on PhilHealth executives and issue preventive suspension should it find evidence of wrongdoing.

Bong Go’s idea

In themiddle of the press conference on Friday, Roque repeated details of the presidential memo to emphasize that the task force was the brainchild of Senator Bong Go, Duterte’s longtime aide who continues to be influential in Malacañang despite his being a member of the legislative branch.

Itong task force pong ito ay sang-ayon po sa naging sangguni ni Sen. Bong Go na chairman ng committee on health ng ating Senado,” said Roque.

(This task force is based on the advice of Senator Bong Go who is chairman of the committee on health of the Senate.)

Asked what would be the status of PhilHealth CEO and President Ricardo Morales while the probe is ongoing, Roque said, “Let’s just say the President deferred to these agencies and deferred to their appreciation of evidence on whether or not to suspend anyone, preventively, in the course of the investigation.”

Morales has been accused by former PhilHealth staff-turned-whistleblowers of being complicit in corruption at the state insurer. Morales denied this saying that while there is systemic corruption in PhilHealth, he saw no reason to doubt the integrity of the executives accused.

Go had previously told reporters that Duterte does not see enough evidence against Morales to fire him.

Roque, who has engaged in a word war with Morales on PhilHealth anomalies, said he can’t wait to hear of shakeups in the government corporation.

“I will be delighted to announce in due course who will be suspended and fired in PhilHealth. That would be the most delightful experience in my career as Presidential Spokesperson,” said Roque. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.


Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at