Senate report exposes PhilHealth exec's 'office nightclub' scene in birthday party

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 25 2020 03:31 PM

MANILA - As a birthday present, one Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) executive received an "enormous box" right in his office, and out came a scantily dressed dancer who then gyrated before him in a sexy show. 

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee found evidence of such episode in a video recording of an undated birthday celebration of PhilHealth Regional Vice President (Region IV-B) Paolo Johann Perez, among career officials the panel tagged as members of the PhilHealth "mafia." 

The video, which committee chair Sen. Richard Gordon showed in an online press conference to present findings of the investigation, showed a woman provocatively dancing before Perez in his office, as staff looked on. 

The Senate report tagged this an episode in Perez's "office nightclub." 

"On his birthday, Perez received a gift, an enormous box, in his office. A girl, dressed in nothing but her underwear, danced and gyrated provocatively in front of Perez," read the committee report. 

"Perez enjoyed the performance and was seen smiling in the video. He did not prevent the incident, or report and issue any reprimand to the employees who brought the girl," it said. 

The committee said this happened "during office hours," and that many of the staff were heard "shouting, as one could expect from a show in a nightclub."

Perez, in a Senate hearing last week, said it was a surprise party and claimed that there wasn't any nude dancer but instead a performer. He said he invited his staff to just go eat just before the performance started.

Perez is among 8 PhilHealth officials tagged as members of an alleged mafia in the Senate panel report. It said they had connections to higher government officials and wielded influence to prompt the removal of PhilHealth presidents. 

"These alleged “Mafia” are known to be the Mindanao Group, managers who have stayed in their respective positions, some for 20 years, and are known to have connections to high ranking officials in government enough to be able to sow intrigues that can result in kicking PhilHealth presidents out," the report said. 

"This is inimical to the corporation as efforts to reform the corporation are often left unimplemented when PhilHealth Presidents are relieved of their posts before they can even fully undertake such reforms," it said.

Back in 2019, a former PhilHealth official had named the 8 alleged mafia members before a Senate hearing. The career officials then denied the tag and bewailed the"mafia" label.

Gordon released the comprehensive committee report on Tuesday following investigation of alleged corruption and unethical practices at the state health insurer, including allegedly overpriced procurement and overpayments to favored hospitals.