Duterte asks Morales to leave PhilHealth due to health reasons

Pia Ranada

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Duterte asks Morales to leave PhilHealth due to health reasons

PHILHEALTH CHIEF. Ricardo Morales heads the controversial PhilHealth

Darren Langit/Rappler

DOJ chief Menardo Guevarra says the President took note of Morales' health condition and said it would be best for him 'and for Philhealth to give up his post during these critical times for the agency'

President Rodrigo Duterte has asked embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) president and CEO Ricardo Morales to vacate his post because of his health condition.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who leads a task force formed by Duterte to probe anomalies hounding PhilHealth, said the Chief Executive made this suggestion on Monday night, August 24.

He was meeting then with coronavirus task force officials in Matina Enclaves, Davao City.

“The President took note last night of Morales’ on-and-off health situation, 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,” Guevarra told justice beat reporters in a message.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea had spoken to Morales earlier that day and had said Morales did not make any resistance.

“ES Medialdea added that he had talked earlier to Morales, and that the latter said he would understand if he had to be replaced,” said Guevarra.

Morales is undergoing treatment for cancer and has been on medical leave due to his condition. He has been absent from recent congressional hearings for the same reason.

Malacañang has been scouting for his replacement.

Morales, a retired army general, was appointed by Duterte in June 2019 to flush out corruption in PhilHealth.

Despite controversies alleged by some whistleblowers, the President stood by Morales. Malacañang said Duterte would only fire him if he saw evidence of wrongdoing.

The 67-year-old Morales hails from Davao City, Duterte’s own hometown. He was a member of the Reform the Armed Forces Movement, the group of rebellious military officers who wanted to oust the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In the years after Marcos and after his retirement, Morales joined the AFP General Insurance Corporation as vice president and general manager.

He then moved to the AFP Mutual Benefit Association Inc, where he was president and CEO from March 2011 to September 2013. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.