MANILA – Corruption issues that continue to hound state insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) have prompted President Rodrigo Duterte’s office to launch its own probe, Malacañang said on Friday.
“Pinakinggan po ang lahat at ang naging conclusion ay isang maigting na imbestigasyon ang gagawin (They listened to all [the complaints] and the conclusion is to conduct a deeper probe [into the supposed irregularities hounding PhilHealth),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview with GMA-7’s “Unang Hirit.”
This developed following reports that three PhilHealth officials resigned from their respective posts because of the supposed widespread corruption within the agency.
Reports said a heated argument during the PhilHealth’s executive committee meeting due to the discovery of alleged corruption within the state-run firm allegedly prompted the three officials to tender their resignations.
In a statement on Friday, PhilHealth confirmed that head executive assistant Etrobal Laborte resigned in mid-July “to go back to taking his PhD (Doctor of Philosophy).”
PhilHealth, meanwhile, said it has yet to officially receive the resignation letter of Thorsson Montes Keith, anti-legal fraud officer of the agency.
It added that corporate legal counsel Roberto Labe Jr. “vehemently denied” reports about his supposed resignation.
Roque confirmed that he had received a copy of Keith’s resignation letter, which cites the “widespread corruption in PhilHealth” as among the PhilHealth official’s reasons to quit his post.
Roque encouraged Keith to cooperate with Duterte’s office by substantiating claims about the supposedly rampant corruption within PhilHealth.
“Nananawagan ako sa kanya, ngayong mayroon ng pormal na imbestigasyon, sana makipagtulungan na lang siya, bagama’t siya po ay nag-resign na, para matigil na once and for all ang corruption diyan sa PhilHealth (Now that there is a formal investigation, I am encouraging him to cooperate to once and for all stop the corruption in PhilHealth),” he said.
Roque has repeatedly expressed disappointment over the alleged failure of PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales to address the supposed irregularities plaguing the state insurer.
The Palace official, in his latest remarks, believed that some of PhilHealth’s top officials are involved in corrupt activities.
“Ang aking conclusion diyan talaga, may sindikato talaga at ito po iyong pinakamatataas na career executives diyan sa PhilHealth. Hindi naman po lahat, hindi natin nilalahat (My conclusion there is there is really a syndicate there and top career executives of PhilHeath are part of it. But I’m not saying that all of them are involved),” he said.
PhilHealth ensured that it would look into the corruption allegations hurled against the agency.
“PhilHealth assures the public that it takes seriously any issue on corruption and asks Atty. Keith to substantiate his accusations so proper procedure can be initiated,” it said. Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos /PNA – northboundasia.com