Duterte orders probe into PhilHealth corruption mess

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 24 2020 02:45 PM

A man looks at the sign of a PhilHealth local office in Quezon City, June 7, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered an investigation into the alleged anomalies surrounding state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Malacañang said Friday after an officer resigned, claiming widespread corruption in the firm.

Duterte tasked his special assistant Undersecretary Melchor Quitain to conduct the investigation, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The investigation order came after PhilHealth anti-fraud officer lawyer Thorrsson Montes Keith said he was resigning because the mandatory payment of PhilHealth contributions by overseas Filipino workers was unconstitutional, and due to an alleged unfair job promotion process.

"We view the allegations of Mr. Keith a serious matter and therefore enjoin him, and other officials, to cooperate with the ongoing investigation," Roque said.

PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales, however, said the resigning employee was only "vengeful" after being denied for a certain post.

"Baka ito iyong ganti niya. Parang vengeful, spiteful siya dahil tinanggihan ko siya noon," Morales told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(Perhaps this is his revenge. He appears vengeful, spiteful because I refused him before.)

The fresh allegations are the latest in a string of corruption issues surrounding the state health insurance firm.

In June, Roque 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.