‘Mafia of the South’ tagged in PhilHealth corruption

Published August 28, 2020, 6:19 PM

by Ben Rosario

An influential and powerful bloc of regional officials from Mindanao has been tagged as the real mafia behind the massive and well-organized corruption activities at the State-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

This was confirmed Friday by a resigned PhilHealth official even as the House Committee on Public Accounts and on Good Government set next week its investigation into the various PhilHealth fund scams initiated by the alleged “Mafia of the South (MOTS).”

Lawyer Rodolfo del Rosario, formerly PhilHealth chief legal officer who resigned Tuesday, noted that despite the filing of numerous charges against certain PhilHealth regional officials in Mindanao, no action was taken by the Ombudsman to discipline or suspend them.

On the other hand, Del Rosario, together with several other PhilHealth officials, were ordered suspended by the Ombudsman for reasons that have not been revealed to the public.

News about the suspension of Del Rosario and several other key officials of PhilHealth were “fed” to House reporters by a solon but only the dispositive portion of the Ombudsman ruling was sent to the media.

Journalists covering the Office of the Ombudsman sought a copy of the decision but their requests were ignored.

In a radio DZBB interview, Del Rosario admitted that their suspension was triggered by a case filed by a group of PhilHealth men from Mindanao whom they had previously charged before the anti-graft body.

Del Rosario backed Sen. Richard Gordon’s findings of the existence of a regional mafia that is behind the billions of pesos in PhilHealth fund scams being blamed to the main office.

“Sa aking karanasan ang grupong ito sa Mindanao ay talagang very organized and a very cohesive group (This group, based on my experience, is very organized and a cohesive group),” he said.

In his committee report, Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said the same group, known in PhilHealth as MOTS, is too influential that it can force a change in leadership in PhilHealth.

“Opo, nararamdaman ko iyan ngayon noong nag-file sila ng case against us before the Ombudsman claiming they were oppressed (Yes, I have been sensing that when they file an Ombudsman case against us) “ he said.

According to Del Rosario, PhilHealth officials at the main office were quickly ordered suspended but those whom they charged continue to hold office.

He explained that he decided to resign for health reasons and to give the PhilHealth probers the freedom to determine the truth about the fund anomalies that have allegedly affected the State health insurer’s finances.