Drilon claims Morales is being manipulated by faction at PhilHealth

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday expressed belief Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) chief Ricardo Morales was being manipulated by a group of people in the agency, which is not a good indication of his leadership.

Senator Franklin Drilon
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Speaking to reporters in an online interview, Drilon said it is quite obvious during the Senate hearing on the alleged corruption in PhilHealth that there are factions within the agency and Morales “wittingly or unwittingly favored one of the factions.”

Morales has been linked to irregularities on the PhilHealth Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) policy and the alleged overpriced Information Technology (IT) system.

The embattled PhilHealth chief defended the rationality behind the two programs, but acknowledged it is hard to get rid of corruption in the agency.

“Let me make it clear. There is no evidence that Morales is directly involved in any of these shenanigans that are being unearthed. It is also clear to me that the people around him are doing something else,” Drilon said.

“In the street language, napapaikutan si Mr. Morales. He should take stock of this. He should take strong and aggressive measures,” he stressed.

“My suspicion, he is siding with one group…it is quite obvious that the bureaucracy is split in PhilHealth. There are two groups fighting,” the Senate Minority Leader pointed out.

He said this was evident when he pointed to PhilHealth’s lack of support for Region 6, which  ranks fifth in the country in terms of COVID infection.

“Yet, there is not a single one, except for one, requests were granted while in the other regions, kahit isa lang ang COVID-19 case, they got millions (under the IRM),” he noted.

Asked if Morales could be held accountable in terms of negligence, Drilon said it would be “a matter of evidence.”

“That’s a matter of evidence. Indeed, negligence is punishable under the anti-graft law,” he said.

The senator said getting rid of factions within the bureaucracy is a challenge to the embattled PhilHealth chief, as factions could result to inefficiency.

“On the other hand, it can also be a source of people making public as what they see as malpractices in the institution. This is a challenge to Mr. Morales,” Drilon pointed out.