By Genalyn Kabiling
Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) president Ricardo Morales is under fire over alleged failure to address the corruption hounding the state-owned corporation.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has called out Morales for allegedly failing to investigate and hold accountable officials involved in the anomalies in PhilHealth since he was appointed to the top post.
Morales has been entrusted by President Duterte “clean up” the state health corporation and get rid of corruption there, said Roque who was speaking as the author of the Universal Health Care law.
“Ang hamon ko kay General Morales, tinanggal ang dating mga miyembro ng board at pati iyong presidente dahil sa alegayon ng korapsyon, bakit ni isa wala pa siyang nalilitis, ni isa wala pa siyang natatanggal? (My challenge to Geneal Morales is since the president and old members of the board have been removed due to corruption allegations, why hasn’t he investigated anyone one, why hasn’t he dismissed anyone?),” he said in a radio interview.
“Tapos magrereklamo siyang walang pera… (Then he complains about the lack of funds…),” he added.
Roque also appealed to Morales not to play blind or turn a deaf ear to the corruption controversies hounding PhilHealth. He lamented that Morales has been given enough time to probe the corruption allegations within the corporation but has yet to produce results.
“Iyan lang po ang problema kay General Morales. Wala pong personalan, pero sapat na pong panahon ang lumipas para dapat naimbestigahan na niya at nalaman na niya kung ano ang nangyayari sa Philhealth (That’s the problem with General Morales. Nothing personal here but time has passed that he should have investigated and found out what is really happening in PhilHealth),” he said.
He said with the huge fund allotment given to PhilHealth, it should not run out of money if the officials are responsible and do not commit corruption.
“Sagutin din niya ano ang nangyari sa mga alegasyon sa korapsiyon sa Philhealth? Bakit ni isa ay walang naimbestigahan, ni isa walang naparusahan? (He should answer what happened to the corruption allegations in PhilHealth? Why hasn’t anyone been investigated or penalized?),” he asked.
“Kinakailangan siya mismo bilang bagong itinalaga, pinagkatiwalaan ni Presidente, linisin niya ang Philhealth (He must clean up PhilHealth as the newly appointed and trusted official by the President),” he said.
Another PhilHealth fund anomaly
According to Roque, he has discovered another alleged fund anomaly in PhilHealth and will reveal it in the next few days.
He noted that PhilHealth should not blame its dwindling funds to the voluntary premium contribution of overseas Filipino workers.
“Nauubos po ang pondo at matagal na po nating sinabi iyan, hundreds of billions ang nawawala po sa korapsyon (The funds are running out and I’ve said it a long time ago, hundreds of billions are lost to corruption),” he said.
Roque said he intends to ask permission from the President before divulging the latest corruption controversy in PhilHealth.
In June 2019, the President directed then PhilHealth Roy Ferrer and other board members to tender their courtesy resignations to have a clean slate following controversy arising from alleged ghost dialysis treatment. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has also been mobilized to investigate the alleged irregularities in PhilHealth.
Morales, a retired military general, was appointed to head the government health insurance agency. He previously promised to dismantle the “mafia” within the state corporation if there was indeed such group.