Former PhilHealth exec says he resigned out of 'delicadeza'
File photo shows resigned PhilHealth Vice President for Operations Augustus de Villa.
The STAR/File
Former PhilHealth exec says he resigned out of 'delicadeza'
(Philstar.com) - August 11, 2020 - 1:19pm

MANILA, Philippines — A resigned top executive of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. on Tuesday said he left the agency out of delicadeza or a sense of propriety.

"I believe that I am not fit to serve an agency of the government that is full of corruption and anomalies," former PhilHealth Vice President for Operations Augustus de Villa told the Senate in Filipino.

"When I joined PhilHealth last year, I promised myself, then, that I and my esteemed senior brother in the [military], now PhilHealth [chief] General [Ricardo] Morales, we would be able to put things right in PhilHealth. But unfortunately, I was wrong," he added.

Morales is a retired Army general while De Villa, also a retired general, is a former head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Health Service Command.

Former PhilHealth anti-fraud legal officer Thorrsson Keith last week accused De Villa of tearing out the pages of procurement documents for new information technology systems, which he claims could have cost the government millions.

De Villa on Tuesday defended himself from accusations that he approved the anomalous budget, saying that he told Etrobal Laborte, then the head executive assistant to Morales, that he did not have the authority to sign the document.

De Villa resigned a day after the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission announced that it would be filing cases against 36 officials of the agency.

Meanwhile, Laborte backed out of participating in the August 4 Senate hearing, citing security reasons.

However, he attended Tuesday's hearing by teleconference and bared further allegations of overpriced information technology units.

Keith last week alleged that PhilHealth executives had stolen P15 billion from the agency's funds.

"What we found at PhilHealth is the crime of the year due to the syndication of the distribution of cash advance, the interim reimbursement mechanism, and the repeated overpricing of purchased IT equipment," he told the Senate in Filipino.

On Tuesday, he further alleged that almost P10 million was credited to a PhilHealth regional officer and a subordinate "without any valid reason" through Balanga Rural Bank in Region III. He added that, after some time, Deutsche bank in Region II complained that it had not received a payment from PhilHealth involving the same amount of 9,705, 332. — Bella Perez-Rubio

PHILIPPINE HEALTH INSURANCE CORPORATION
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