Another PhilHealth exec resigns amid investigations on corruption

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Another Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) executive  has resigned from the agency amid the ongoing Senate and Congress  investigations into the alleged corruption within the state insurer.

Senior Vice President Augustus de Villa, who was among the PhilHealth executives present at the Senate hearing on Tuesday, copy furnished Senate President Vicente Sotto III with his resignation letter dated August 6.

“I hereby tender my irrevocable resignation, effective immediately… The Vice Chairman knows full well the reasons,” it read.

“Be assured that I will make myself available for the ongoing investigations in aid of legislation in both Houses of the Congress of the Philippines,” it added.

Sotto said De Villa “must have a very good reason for resigning in the midst of the controversy.”

During the legislative hearing, De Villa was asked to produce supposedly hidden documents in connection with the agency’s intended procurement of allegedly overpriced ICT equipment.

On the other hand, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said other PhilHealth officials should follow suit.

“I think all senior executives should, out of delicadeza, resign. But unless [Health Secretary Francisco] Duque resigns then we will see little or no progress in effectively managing the pandemic,” Pangilinan said.

PhilHealth has denied that its senior officials have pocketed P15 billion through several fraudulent schemes — an allegation made by resigned  PhilHealth anti-fraud officer Thorrsson Montes Keith.

Keith’s resignation letter surfaced after a so-called shouting match among PhilHealth executives took place in July.

Keith cited “widespread corruption” within the state insurer as one of his reasons for leaving.

Estrobal Laborte, the head executive assistant of PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales, also resigned recently.

Estrobal was supposed to serve as a witness at the Senate hearing but backed out at the last minute for “security reasons.”

During the Senate hearing on Tuesday, PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales also denied protecting corrupt officials in the state health insurer.

The Senate hearing on the alleged irregularities in PhilHealth will continue on Tuesday next week. The House of Representatives is also conducting its investigation into the matter./Stacy Ang

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