PhilHealth chief says employee accusing him of corruption unqualified, vengeful

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 24 2020 09:23 AM | Updated as of Jul 24 2020 09:28 AM

PhilHealth President and CE Ricardo Morales attends a Senate hearing on the fraudulent medical claims in PhilHealth, in Pasay City on Aug. 14, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The head of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) claimed Friday that an employee who resigned and alleged widespread corruption in the agency was "vengeful" due to personal reasons.

In his resignation letter, lawyer Thorrsson Montes Keith said the mandatory payment of PhilHealth contribution by overseas Filipino workers was unconstitutional and it was against his values to let OFWs "pay for the spillages" of the agency.

He also said he was stepping down due to an alleged unfair job promotion process, and delayed salaries and hazard pay after he investigated some officers in the agency as its anti-fraud legal officer.

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Keith is a contractual worker handling "special concerns", not corruption checks. He had applied for a position for which he is "not qualified", said PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales.

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

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

Morales said Keith is not included in executive meetings on OFW contributions, which President Rodrigo Duterte in May made voluntary after thousands signed an online petition protesting the agency's rate hike.

"Baka hindi niya naiintiNdihan sinasabi niya," he said.

(He may not really understand what he is saying.)

Lawyer Thorrsson Montes Keith cites "widespread corruption" in PhilHealth in his resignation letter, a copy of which was obtained by ABS-CBN News

The PhilHealth chief also questioned the timing of his subordinate's allegations. "Alam niya pala e di sana nilabas niya [dati]," he said.

(If he knew it, why didn't he bare it before?)

Keith did not provide details about his allegations. He requested his resignation to take effect at the end of August.

"Ang tagal naman nuon, bilisan natin. Maghihintay pa ng Aug. 31, sa Lunes na," said Morales.

(That will take a while, let's fast track it. We'll have to wait until Aug. 31, resign of Monday.)

Morales also denied the reported resignation of 2 other PhilHealth officers due to corruption allegations. He said a corporate counsel denied that he was quitting his post, while Morales' head executive assistant resigned to pursue a doctoral degree.

In June, the PhilHealth chief belied allegations of P154 billion in missing funds and a supposed large-scale syndicate defrauding the agency, after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Morales allegedly failed to curb corruption in the agency.

A former brigadier general of the Philippine Army, Morales once served as CEO and president of the Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association Incorporated (AFPMBAI), an organization that provides insurance plans, security, and financial products for uniformed personnel and their families.

He was previously appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System before his present assignment as Philhealth chief.