PhilHealth Chief Morales denies corruption in agency

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Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)  President Ricardo Morales on Friday denied irregularities in the agency and dared Thorrsson Montes Keith, the anti-fraud officer who resigned from his post, to back his claim of “widespread corruption.”

“[Aabot sa] 50,000 transactions ang hina-handle ng PhilHealth araw-araw, palagay ko naman kung hindi corruption ‘yung mga inefficiencies diyan, mali ‘yung pasok [ng entries], kulang. Pero iyong sinasabi na korapsyon na may sindikato, may mafia, wala hong ebidensiya,” Morales said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.

“Kung may alam siyang corruption, ilabas niya. Mag-aantay pa siya ng August 31 [for his resignation to become effective]? Gawin na niyang Lunes o ngayon, kasi detrimental na ‘yung ano niya… it would compromise the corporation for him to stay, for him to have access to the resources of the corporation,” he added

Morales said Keith, who he said holds a “non-existent” position, is only raising the issue because his application for promotion was turned down as he was unqualified.

“Wala namang ganung position. Pumunta sa akin ‘yan noong isang araw, naga-apply sa position na hindi siya qualified, gusto palitan si Laborte. Hindi ko siya kilala, eh position of confidence iyong executive assistant,” Morales said, referring to Executive Assistant Etrobal Laborte, who resigned this month to study.

“Hindi naman siya qualified roon kasi kailangan ng training, attitude,” he added, as he jokingly referred to Keith as a “spurned lover.”

Morales, however, did not contest Keith’s claims that the release of the latter’s salary and hazard pay was delayed but attributed it to Keith being a contractual employee.

“Wala kasi masyado tao [dahil sa COVID-19  pandemic]. Work from home ang iba,” Morales said.

In a separate statement, “PhilHealth has yet to officially receive the letter of resignation of Atty Thorrsson Keith. However, any grievances on promotion, which Atty. Keith applied for, can be resolved through its grievance machinery.”

“Head Executive Assistant Etrobal Laborte has tendered his resignation in the middle of July and will take effect at the end of August 2020 to go back to taking his PhD, while Corporate Legal Counsel Atty. Roberto Labe Jr. vehemently denied any news of his resignation.”

“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.”/Stacy Ang

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