'I am not yet done,' says Morales in ridding PhilHealth of corruption

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2020 09:26 PM

PhilHealth President and CEO 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 - PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales said Tuesday in a Senate investigation he has yet to clear the state-run insurance agency of corruption.

"My answer senator is that, I have not finished my job. My point is that, what was supposed to be done is not yet done. I can only answer that if I'm allowed to finish it, specifically, getting the information system up and going," Morales said in response to Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa's question if he has failed President Rodrigo Duterte.

Dela Rosa, a former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) before becoming a lawmaker, said Morales, a retired military officer, was seen by Duterte as "last and final option" to end problems hounding the insurance agency.

"Kilala kita sa AFP bilang isang napakatino na official. Kilala ka bilang isang opisyal na who didn't compromise his principle in exchange for favor or comfort. Kilala rin kita to be a very vocal critic sa lahat ng mga korapsyon, lahat ng katarantaduhan ng armed forces at ng gobyerno," Dela Rosa said of Morales.

He revealed visiting Morales in Bukidnon on Duterte's order to commend the former military man for standing his ground over some issues in the past despite the risk of losing his job.

Morales was tapped to lead the PhilHealth in July 2019 after his predecessor was ordered to step down due to allegation of corruption.

A year into his appointment in the state insurer, he said his experience, intention and hard work were not enough to weed out corruption in the agency.

"Sa tingin ko ho, ang tamang gawin dito ay paandarain, ayusin ang information system. Linisin ang database. At the same time, kailangan gumawa ng measures para mapuksa, madiskubre ang mga gumagawa ng katiwalian sa PhilHealth," Morales said.

"Hindi po sapat ang aking ginagawa.. Inaamin ko ho, kulang ako sa paghanap ng mga gumagawa ng katiwalian. Marami pa rin sila," he added.

Morales is pushing to overhaul the agency's current information system to curb fraudulent activities.

In August last year, he vowed to "dismantle" the alleged "mafia" within the state-run health insurance firm.

Executives tagged as "mafia" members have been reshuffled while an internal investigation was ongoing, he had said.