MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) President and CEO Ricardo Morales on Friday denied allegations of “widespread corruption” in the agency, and told lawyer Thorrsson Montes Keith, who resigned from his post, to substantiate his claims.
In an interview on UNTV’s Get It Straight with Daniel Razon, Morales said Keith should divulge now whatever he knows about the supposed widespread corruption in PhilHealth and to not wait for the time when his resignation becomes effective.
UNTV News obtained from a source a copy of Keith’s resignation letter where he detailed the reasons of his resignation as PhilHealth’s anti-fraud legal officer.
He said he strongly opposed the mandatory payment of PhilHealth contribution by “overseas Filipino workers” as it is unconstitutional or not part of the Universal Health Care (UHC) law and that it is against his personal values to let the OFWs “pay for the spillages of PhilHealth.”
Keith also claimed that there is rampant and patent unfairness in the promotion process, his salary and hazard pay has not been on time since he started investigating PhilHealth officers.
He also cited the widespread corruption in Philhealth among his many more other reasons for resigning. He said his resignation will take effect on August 31, 2020.
But according to Morales, Keith is not the agency’s anti-fraud legal officer and that it is a non-existent position.
While he has yet to receive a copy of his resignation letter, Morales believes that Keith is only raising the issue after his application for another post was turned down.
“It is a position of trust and confidence which I do not have in him so I denied his application. So, that could be the reason why meron siyang ill-feeling, may spite to come out with this… baseless accusation,” he said.
On Keith’s claim about the UHC law, Morales said the issue still being discussed with lawmakers after he recommended to Congress in June to delay the law’s implementation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
About his claim on widespread corruption, Morales said “inefficiencies” in the agency cannot be considered as corruption although he admits there is a need to fix these issues.
“Hindi naman siguro accurate na sabihin na squeaky clean na malinis na malinis ‘yung ano (ahensya). But it is a challenge. And it will not happen overnight… I’m not making excuses. I’m just saying na give me more time and then I will fix it,” he said.
Morales, however, did not contest Keith’s claims about the delayed release of his salary and hazard pay, attributing it to being a contractual employee and the current workforce setup amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The PhilHealth chief, meanwhile, confirmed reports that his Head Executive Assistant, Retired Colonel Etrobal Laborte, has resigned from the post but this is due to his plans of going back to taking his PhD studies.
In a separate statement, Philhealth said Laborte tendered his resignation in the middle of July and will take effect at the end of August 2020.
As to the report of the supposed resignation of another Philhealth officer, the agency said that Corporate Legal Counsel Atty. Roberto Labe Jr. had “vehemently denied any news of his resignation.”
The state insurer also said that Keith’s grievances on promotion can be resolved through its grievance machinery.
“Philhealth assures the public that it takes seriously any issue on corruption, and asks Atty. Keith to substantiate his accusations so proper procedures can be initiated,” it said.
As of this writing, UNTV News is still trying to reach Keith for a comment on the issue. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
The post PhilHealth chief Morales tells resigned officer to back claim of ‘widespread corruption’ appeared first on UNTV News.