Press Release
August 11, 2020

Committee of the Whole hearing

- Sen. Grace Poe: Thank you, Mr. President. My line of questioning will be about the qualifications of General Morales to begin with. It is my understanding that the GCG or the Governance Commission for GOCCs had the recommendatory powers to recommend a shortlist to the President of qualified board members for the PhilHealth based on the Universal Health Care law requirements; and from there the President will choose who should be appointed. Now, there are certain standards and criteria that needs to be met, and my understanding is the GCG head is here, Mr. Dagpin, am I correct, is he present?

-Poe: Mr. Dagpin, pakisabi nga po sa atin kung ano ang kwalipikasyon ng mga nirerekomenda ninyo sa Presidente para piliin bilang kinatawan sa PhilHealth board. Ano ang mga minimum requirements?

-Poe: Mr. Dagpin, I think you failed to include that members should have a minimum requirement of seven years in public health, finance, management or economics experience, am I correct?

-Poe: So, what you're trying to say is that for the president of PhilHealth, you need that seven years' requirement but not necessarily as a board member, am I correct?

-Poe: Okay, but from the very beginning, Mr. Morales was recommended to be a part of the board because of his apparent sectoral representation, am I correct?

-Poe: Okay, indirect contributors. Can you mention to me the sectors that are supposed to have been represented?

-Poe: So ibig sabihin, Mr. Dagpin, para mas maliwanag, dapat sila ay identified indirect contributors sa mga indigent, identified with DSWD, beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya, senior citizens, persons with disability, alin doon ang tumutugma kay General Morales?

-Poe: So, he was nominated by the PMS. Now, for the board to choose the president of PhilHealth, that person should have the required qualification of seven years' experience. So, is there such a board resolution that states that he indeed qualified to be the president of PhilHealth.

-Poe: So, do we have a member of the board here present who can attest to the deliberation with regard to the appointment of General Morales? Meron po ba diyan na member ng board?

-Poe: So, let me ask you, in that resolution did it state that he actually complied with the requirements? Matanong ko na nga siguro si General Morales mismo, ano ang kanyang qualification pagdating sa management, finance, public health or economics?

-Poe: So your experiences largely fall on the management sector? Not necessarily public health?

-Poe: Okay, now for the GCG. Normally, the appointees will only have a duration of one year; after which, there should be an evaluation of their performance, if they are actually qualified to continue. They should have a rating of above average or average, am I correct, Mr. Dagpin?

-Poe: Okay, so have you come up with, have you deliberated on his performance evaluation because it's been a year. Kung July 2019 po siya inappoint, August na po ngayon, so dapat meron na kayong evaluation. Anong pong grade ang ibinigay ninyo sa kanya?

-Poe: So, wala pa hanggang ngayon?

-Poe: Anong meron na siguro, kayo ang namumuno, dapat alam ninyo.

-Poe: Let me ask you, sir, have you actually convened with the members or the board or whoever in the GCG that is responsible for evaluating the current PhilHealth chief? Have you met with them and have they submitted an evaluation?

-Poe: Kasi Mr. Dagpin, napakainit po ng usapin ngayon. Siguro noong pumutok na itong isyu ng PhilHealth ay dapat meron na kayo kaagad na ginawang hakbang ukol dito. Kasi, that in itself, if he didn't perform satisfactorily that could be the basis to remove him immediately or at least not to have his term extended. Kayo, what was your personal assessment of him, you can tell us.

-Poe: Teka muna, so ang sinasabi ninyo sa 2017 at 2018, you already assessed that? You submitted? Who was heading the PhilHealth at that time?

-Poe: And what grade did you give him or what rating?

-Poe: Hindi mo matandaan. That was just barely more than a year ago, I mean, less than two years. Iisang tao lang 'yan, hindi mo matandaan ang evaluation. So, you are telling me that from the time General Morales joined PhilHealth, you have no evaluation of him yet?

-Poe: I'm sure if it was submitted to you August 4, I mean I would hope that you have browsed some documents already regarding his case, what would you recommend to the body?

-Poe: Conjecture, really? With all the data that we have, I guess you haven't really done your responsibility of reviewing, and especially it's already past the one-year mark. Not only should you start the review when the one-year mark has ended, but prior to that you already should have done your due diligence, late na po kayo dito, 'di ba?

-Poe: But surely, you know what, even prior to coming to our hearing and you know that this is what is going to be discussed; it didn't even pique your interest to take a look at his records? I mean, you can't use as an excuse even if this is an appointment by whomever in the government. It is your responsibility in the GCG to be able to find out how the one you recommended are actually performing. Section 13 of the UHC Law requires that all appointed members of the board shall be required to undergo training in health care, financing health system, hosting health services and HDA prior to the start of their term. Non-compliance shall be a ground for dismissal. I would like to ask General Morales, did you actually have any of these trainings and do you have proof that you participated in this?

-Poe: Okay. How long was the training and who conducted that training?

-Poe: Can you tell me again the name of this course?

-Poe: Okay. So what is it mainly? Is it a study in management? What was the course about?

-Poe: Okay. Since you yourself admitted that you have no prior experience in public health, what initiatives or steps have you taken to make yourself more aware of the public health situation in the country.

-Poe: If what you say is true, then at least we should have expected the PhilHealth to be a little bit responsive when it comes to that; but it seems like with the policies that you've had in the past few months that you led the office, there's been a lot of complaints. A lot of hospitals are not being reimbursed properly. In fact, even your policies toward OFWs are being questioned. You are giving funding to hospitals that have less bed capacities than PGH but received more from the government in terms of support. So these things make us doubt that you are actually in tune with the public sector. What will you say on that, General Morales?

-Poe: So, meaning to say these anomalies have been present since the past. So, is it actually quite okay with you just to be leading such an organization with that type of track record?

-Poe: So, that's why I go back to my previous question during the last hearing, what steps have you taken to curb corruption in the PhilHealth. Ano pong ginawa ninyo para mabawasan man lang ang korapsyon sa PhilHealth?

-Poe: General Morales, number one. Kahit gaano kagaling ang IT system ninyo, kung ang mga taong nagpapatakbo nito ay bulok, walang mangyayari. Pangalawa, sinabi na mismo nu'ng isang resource person natin, I think chief of staff ba ninyo or, one of the ones assisting you...he mentioned that there's so many, actually, volunteering at a lower cost to provide you IT support and other consultancy services of which it was never really encouraged. In fact, walang mga lowest bidder kasi, only one would bid in a particular project. So matanong ko sa inyo, can you give your list of those that won the projects within the past year or the ones that you considered to have been qualified. I would respectfully ask the secretariat to please ask for a copy of the companies that usually win bids with the PhilHealth.

-Poe: So, what's the name of the company that you chose that's a major player?

-Poe: Well, that would be ideal if they meet the requirements, but you know, our country, I think we can boast of a lot of IT professionals here are very qualified. So it's very, well, almost unbelievable to say that a system like PhilHealth cannot find qualified individuals to be able to help you with your setup. Now, this is my last question, Mr. President, with regard to your qualification as an indirect contributor. So it should be either you're identified with the DSWD, indigents, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino, persons with disability, senior citizens. How can you identify with any of them?

-Poe: Yes, but you know what, being one of them does not mean that you qualify. What contributions have you done for the sector you identify with?

-Poe: Well, okay, I guess that raises also, these qualifications need to be clarified if we are to have an effective board. 'Di naman puwede na porke't kabataan official ka pero you didn't really contribute for the betterment of that sector that you will be considered as qualified for this. Now, let me ask Mr. Dagpin, this is again, the last one: in your scorecard of the performance of your recommended appointees, what would you consider as a category that will guide you in your evaluation. What categories would you have or what criteria? Dapat ba on time siya palagi sa trabaho, kailangan ba 'yung balance sheet nila maayos? Tell me, how do you evaluate them?

-Poe: Okay, kasi, kung self-assessment at saka assessed by colleagues baka mahirapan tayo diyan ha? Baka bigyan nila 'yung sarili nila ng perfect score. So where do you come in now when it comes to evaluation?

-Poe: So Mr. Dagpin, with those criteria, mukhang babagsak ang head ng PhilHealth niyan.

-Poe: Okay, well, I thank you for your candidness at this point. That's what we wanted to drive at, that you are actually in touch with the situation, Mr. Dagpin. What we're trying to do here is this, it's unfortunate that General Morales is being advised by his doctor to take a medical leave. We certainly sympathize with him if he is ill. But on the other hand, maybe now that he is, maybe he will realize also the processes that he has to go through to get a reimbursement with PhilHealth, if he has to actually go through the same. And another thing is that, if you leave for medical reasons, that does not necessarily put closure on your accountability, and also on your performance. So if somebody is just allowed to take a medical leave and not answer to the allegations then that will not address the issue that we're having right now. So that's all, Mr. President, and thank you to our kind colleagues and to our resource persons for attending today.

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