MANILA - Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) president Ricardo Morales on Tuesday denied the existence of a criminal syndicate in the agency.
According to Morales, PhilHealth officials never denied that corruption exists within the agency. He also said he has been working to stop such practices, but claimed it is not easy.
"Ni-review ko ho 'yung sistema ng PhilHealth. Mayroon hong tatlong executives na hiniling kong mag-leave para maka-conduct ng investigation. Inilipat ko rin ho 'yung mga dapat ilipat," he said during a Senate investigation on Tuesday.
(I reviewed the system of PhilHealth. I asked three executives to go on leave so I can conduct an investigation. I also transferred some officials.)
He also said he tried to implement the agency's information technology program to make all transactions digital to stop corruption and inefficiency in the agency.
"Sinubukan ko hong i-implement 'yung information technology program ng PhilHealth dahil sa tingin ko ho ito ho 'yung pinakamalaking diperensiya na makakabawas ho sa corruption at inefficiency sa PhilHealth," he said.
(I tried to implement the information technology program of PhilHealth because I believe it will make a difference in curbing corruption and inefficiency in the agency.)
According to Morales, there are around 20,000 cases of fraudulent claims pending in the agency's legal department.
He also said the current investigation is happening because a former PhilHealth lawyer revealed information about the corruption in the agency, a fact that he never hid from the public.
Morales did not name the lawyer.
"Ito namang imbestigasyon na ito nangyayari dahil may isang abogado na dating nagtatrabaho sa PhilHealth na pumunta ho sa akin, humingi ng puwesto at hindi ko ho binigyan, at inilabas niya na mayroong korapsyon sa PhilHealth na hindi naman namin itinatago," Morales said.
(This investigation is happening because there is a lawyer who used to work for PhilHealth who asked me for a position. I refused, and he revealed that there is corruption within PhilHealth, which we are not hiding from the public.)
"Ang korapsyon ho sa PhilHealth, dati na ho ito at hindi ho madaling i-solve itong korapsyon ho na ito," he added.
(Corruption in PhilHealth has been happening for a long time and it is not easy to solve.)
When asked if he coddles an alleged syndicate inside PhilHealth, Morales said he is not aware of the existence of such group.
"Ginagawa ko lang po ang tingin kong tama pero itinatanggi ko ho na ako ay coddler ng sindikato. Hindi ko ho kinikilala na mayroon hong sindikato sa loob. Mayroon hong gumagawa ng katiwalian sa loob, pero hindi ko ho alam kung ito ho ay sindikato o hindi," he said.
(I am just doing what I think is right but I deny that I am a coddler of a syndicate. I do not acknowledge the existence of such a syndicate. I know there are people who do corrupt practices but I don't know if they are part of a syndicate or not.)
Morales said he is now collecting enough evidence so he can file charges against those who are allegedly involved in corruption.
"Ang plano ko ho ay makabuo ng ebidensiya na puwedeng gamitin sa korte. 'Yun lang ho ang paraan kung papaano maalis ang mga taong ito. Sa kasalukuyan ho wala akong ebidensiyang tatayo sa korte kaya hindi ho sila puwede pang kasuhan," he said.
(I am planning on collecting enough evidence we can use in court. That's the only way we can remove these people from position. Right now I don't have evidence so I cannot file charges against them yet.)
The Senate investigation into alleged irregularities in the state-run firm was held Tuesday as lawmakers eye to amend the law that created the agency to stem corruption and embezzlement in the office mandated to shoulder the medical bills of Filipinos.