PhilHealth workers want âcorruptâ execs ousted
The PhilHealth Workers for Hope, Integrity, Transparency and Empowerment (PhilHealth-WHITE) expressed hope that the congressional investigation will “flush out” the corrupt and vindicate the hardworking PhilHealth employees.
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PhilHealth workers want ‘corrupt’ execs ousted
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - August 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — For the betterment of the state-run health insurer, employees of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) have called on President Duterte to fire all officials facing investigation over alleged anomalies.

The PhilHealth Workers for Hope, Integrity, Transparency and Empowerment (PhilHealth-WHITE) expressed hope that the congressional investigation will “flush out” the corrupt and vindicate the hardworking PhilHealth employees.

“We call on President Duterte, to put in charge a caretaker who is an expert in the field of health insurance with proven integrity and incorruptibility – someone who is not himself or herself under investigation,” PhilHealth-WHITE president Maria Fe Francisco said in a statement over the weekend.

“PhilHealth-WHITE cannot be subservient to executives whose integrity is in question,” Francisco added.

She said their call for ouster of those facing investigation to step down include Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who also chairs the PhilHealth board.

“By doing so, all doubts about whitewashing and cover up would be dispelled,” she said.

Issues such as overpricing, manipulation of financial statements and incompetence must be addressed in the investigation, according to Francisco.

She said the perpetrators of corruption should be brought to justice to pave the way for a better PhilHealth.

Leni seeks execs’ suspension

Vice President Leni Robredo yesterday sought the suspension of PhilHealth officials amid ongoing probes on alleged irregularities and corruption in the agency.

“There should be suspension while investigations are ongoing,” Robredo said in her weekly program over radio station dzXL.

The Vice President added that this would allow authorities to look into the issue more thoroughly and ensure that the integrity of the investigation is not compromised.

“I hope they’ll do that to show that they are serious in the fight against corruption,” she said.

The Senate, House of Representatives, and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) have launched separate probes on the alleged corruption in the state-run health insurer.

The supposed irregularities at PhilHealth would not have gotten worse had anti-corruption bodies done their jobs, according to Robredo.

“Don’t we have anti-corruption bodies who were supposed to sense these things?” she said.

In a Senate hearing last week, PhilHealth’s former anti-fraud legal officer Thorrsson Montes Keith accused the agency’s officials of stealing some P15 billion from the agency through various fraudulent schemes.

Keith, who had earlier resigned due to “widespread corruption” in the agency, also accused PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales of instructing him to talk to Commissioner Greco Belgica of the PACC to smooth out a pending case involving the agency’s overpriced coronavirus disease 2019 testing kits.

The Senate committee of the whole is set to conduct another hearing tomorrow to look into widespread corruption allegations in the agency.

Last 2 years

Duterte vowed to maximize his last two years in office to cleanse government offices of corruption, particularly the PhilHealth, Sen. Bong Go said yesterday.

Go guaranteed that the President and his administration would intensify the fight against corruption until 2022, amid the alleged corruption scandal plaguing PhilHealth.

“The President said he (would) not stop fighting corruption in the next two years. He said he (would) fly into rage, meaning he (would) do everything he can for the Filipino people,” Go said in Filipino in an interview over radio station dzBB.

“When proven that they are involved in corruption, they should be suspended or even dismissed from the service to prevent them from influencing their offices. Filipino people are having a hard up situation and it is unacceptable. Not even a peso should be stolen from PhilHealth,” he added.

The senator also noted that Duterte reminded him and the public to speak up against corruption regardless if his political allies or fellow public officials are involved.

“The President reminded me and told me, ‘Bong, even if we are allies, even those fellow public servants, if involved in corruption, just speak up like an opposition,’” Go said, quoting Duterte.

The senator challenged the executive department, particularly the Department of Justice which leads Task Force PhilHealth recently created by the President, to bring to justice those responsible for anomalous acts and put an end to the deeply rooted and systemic corruption in government.

“Let’s help the Filipino people. Let’s make it happen. Let’s work together and jail people corrupting people’s money. Every peso is important to the Filipinos people during this time,” Go, who chairs the Senate committee on health and demography, said. – Helen Flores, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Edith Regalado, Delon Porcalla

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