MANILA--The chief of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) on Tuesday linked 2 regional heads to a group supposedly exerting "inordinate influence" over the agency, which is now under investigation over allegations of massive corruption.
Pressed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros to identify members of a so-called "mafia" within the agency, PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales named regional Vice Presidents Masiding Alonto Jr. (Region 10) and Khaliquzzaman Macabato (Bangsamoro).
"I couldn't move them," he told senators when asked by Hontiveros about a group allegedly "dictating" how things were supposed to be run at PhilHealth.
Last year, a PhilHealth board member also identified Alonto and Macabato as among 8 officials allegedly wielding immense influence within the agency.
Hontiveros reminded Morales that in 2019, just 6 weeks as PhilHealth president, he mentioned "3 senior vice presidents" allegedly "resisting rotation." In response, he mentioned Alonto and Dennis Adre, Region XI vice-president.
PhilHealth board member Alejandro Cabading on Tuesday cleared those named in the 2019 "mafia" list, saying, "they are the good guys around."
Hontiveros said the agency could not possibly lose billions of funds without a powerful group and a "backer" from within.
"Para finally malinis natin ang ahensya, dapat matunton na natin at mabuwag ang mga grupo o mafia sa loob," she said.