Malacañang on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte has to be presented with sufficient evidence of corruption to fire Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) President and Chief Executive Ricardo Morales.

“The president has said that he will not fire him unless there’s evidence and I think the Senate now is in the process of documenting this evidence, at the same time there’s also parallel investigation being conducted by Undersecretary [Jesus] Quitain,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source.

PhilHealth has been under investigation since its anti-fraud officer, Thorrsson Keith, revealed widespread corruption in the state health insurance firm.

The Senate, the Office of the President and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission are conducting simultaneous probes.

“If there’s evidence that would affect his (Duterte’s) trust and confidence, then of course it could change and that’s why I’m hoping all these investigations – three investigations – will document the evidence that the President wants to see,” he added.

During a Senate hearing Tuesday, Morales was alleged by PhilHealth board member Alejandro Cabading to have repeatedly approved purchases of redundant and overpriced information technology equipment.

Morales, a retired army general who was appointed by Duterte in August 2019, denied the allegations and said that the purchases were necessary to overhaul PhilHealth’s outdated systems.

Other PhilHealth officers bared that about P10.2 billion was lost to fraudulent transactions in 2019, and that about P230 billion would be lost until next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We can only keep the stench from coming out for a little period of time but you can’t actually prevent it from seeping out and that’s what’s happening now. The truth is being uncovered and I will just say that I’m very supportive of both investigations,” Roque added. John Ezekiel J. Hirro