Morales: No irregularities in PhilHealth operations but corruption probe underway

Published July 24, 2020, 12:30 PM

by Analou de Vera

Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) President  Ricardo Morales said that they are in the process of investigating the corruption issues hounding the agency but claims they have yet to find any irregularity in its operations. 

PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“Iyong sinasabi na korapsyon— na may sindikato, na may mafia, wala hong ebidensya. Wala pa [The corruption issues — that there is a syndicate, there is a mafia, there is no evidence. Nothing yet],” said Morales in a radio interview on Friday.

“Sa isang araw, 50,000 transactions yung hina-handle ng PhilHealth. Palagay ko naman kung hindi corruption, ‘yung mga inefficiencies diyan, mali ang pasok [of entries or] kulang [In one day, PhilHealth handles 50,000 transactions. I think if it is not corruption, it may be there are inefficiencies such as wrong or incomplete entries (of necessary information)],” he added. 

Morales said Thorrsson Montes Keith, the anti-fraud legal officer who tendered his resignation, should have presented evidence if there was illegal activity within the agency. 

“Meron pala syang alam na corruption eh di sana inilabas nya [If he knew that there is corruption, then he should have exposed it],” said the state-health insurer chief, saying that Keith was only a “contractual employee.”

“Mag-aantay pa siya ng August 31, gawin na niyang lunes o ngayon dahil detrimental na yung ano nya sa organisasyon [He will wait until August 31, he can do it on Monday or even now because it is already detrimental for the organization]. I think it would compromise the corporation for him to stay, to have access to resources ng korporasyon [of the corporation],” he added. 

Morales had earlier confirmed to Manila Bulletin that Keith and his head executive assistant (HEA) Etrobal Laborte resigned from their respective positions. Based on his resignation letter given by a source, Keith claimed that there is “widespread corruption” in PhilHealth.

Morales said that Laborte quit his position this month in order to continue his “PhD studies.” Meanwhile, Corporate Legal Counsel Atty. Roberto Labe Jr. will not resign from his position. 

The PhilHealth chief said that Keith was turned down for a position “for which he was not qualified.”

“Pumunta sa akin ito, nag-aaply ng posisyon na hindi naman sya qualified. Kasi gusto nga nyang palitan si Bal Laborte. Hindi ko siya kilala, eh position of confidence iyong executive assistant [He approached me, applying for a position that he is not qualified for. He wanted to replace Bal Laborte. I don’t know him.  An executive assistant is a position of confidence],” said Morales during the radio interview. 

“Sa tingin ko, hindi naman sya qualified doon kasi syempre dapat merong experience, training, attitude [I think he is not qualified for that position because of course, he must have experience, training, and attitude],” he added. 

PhilHealth spokesperson Shirley Domingo said that their office has yet to receive Keith’s  letter of resignation.