PhilHealth chief belies corruption 'syndicate,' billions of missing funds

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2020 03:40 PM

PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA-- Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) President Ricardo Morales belied Monday allegations of P154 billion in missing funds, and a supposed large-scale syndicate defrauding the state health insurance firm.

The Commission on Audit could not substantiate claims of P154 billion in missing PhilHealth funds, Morales said, contrary to the claims of Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.

"Hindi totoong may nawawalang P154 billion," Morales said in a virtual press briefing.

(It's not true that there's P154 billion missing)

Roque, among principal authors of the Universal Health Care Law during his time as a sectoral lawmaker, had said Morales "failed" to clean up corruption in PhilHealth as he alleged that there are still crooks within the state health insurance firm.

Morales however denied any large-scale effort to defraud PhilHealth but admitted "inefficiencies" in the processing of claims within the state health insurance firm.

"Walang (there is no) syndicate or group people colluding to defraud the corporation at that scale," Morales said.

MEETING WITH DUTERTE?

Roque last week said he would seek a meeting with President Duterte and Morales over alleged corruption in PhilHealth.

But the PhilHealth chief on Monday said he found it "premature" to involve the President in the issue.

"I think it's premature to go to the President without a solution," Morales said.

Asked to comment on Morales' statements, Roque said he would leave the matter to President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Hayaan na po natin ang taumbayan humusga at bayaan na po natin si Presidente sa isyung iyan," Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

(Let the public and the President decide on that issue)

The PhilHealth chief assured the public that PhilHealth is prepared for a third-party audit.

"I can assure you that there is no group of people colluding with each other to defraud PhilHealth in this scale reported," Morales said.

"We are ready to answer all allegations," he added.