Former PhilHealth  Senior VP resigned out of ‘delicadeza’, another confirms corruption allegations

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The former Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) senior vice president, Augustus De Villa,  on Tuesday said delicadeza was one the reasons why he filed his irrevocable resignation last week, due to allegations of corruption, while another resigned officer confirmed about the allegations of corruption in the agency.

“Sa kadahilanan ng delicadeza po. Ako po ay isang taong marangal, may dignidad at integridad. Malinis po ang aking konsensiya at naniniwala ako na hindi ako nababagay na magsilbi pa sa isang ahensiya ng gobyerno na punong-puno ng alegasyon ng korapsyon, ng katiwalian,” De Villa said in a Senate hearing.

“Ako po ay naniniwala na mayroon ngang katotohanan, sinadya man o hindi, at ito po ay base sa mga lumalabas na pagsusuri at lalong lalo na po noong Martes, noong unang hearing po,” he added.

De Villa said another reason for his resignation was to spend more time with his three children as he shared that he has been a widower for more than a decade now.

Citing that he is already a senior citizen, De Villa said he also wants to protect himself from COVID-19 because he has hypertension which is considered a comorbidity.

De Villa said he joined PhilHealth in September 2019 and has now decided to “step aside” and work from the vantage point to salvage the honor of the institution.

He  said those who had their hands dirty should be put to justice and those who are innocent should be allowed to continue doing their jobs.

At the resumption of the Senate’s probe into alleged corruption in PhilHealth, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica said the state insurer has been releasing billions of pesos in payouts every week that are “exposed to corruption.”

Meanwhile, Estrobal Laborte, former head executive assistant at PhilHealth, on Tuesday told a Senate investigating body that he resigned from the agency because he could no longer stand corruption.

During the resumption of the Senate hearing on alleged irregularities in PhilHealth, Laborte said he first thought of resigning from the agency in April this year due to the anomalous deals the state insurer has entered into.

Laborte shared screenshots of his messages to board member Alejandro Cabading, who he worked with to stop the alleged disadvantageous deals.

“Magre-resign na ako sir by July 15 ‘pag hindi maayos ito. Hindi kaya ng konsensya ko ito sir. Tapusin ko lang one year service sa PhilHealth,” Laborte told Cabading last  June.

“I can no longer stand to work with these kind of people sir. I really need to go,” Cabading said.

Claiming defeat, Laborte tendered his resignation in July, amid the alleged continued corruption in the agency.

“Siguro we should accept defeat. Walang tumutulong to fix PhilHealth. Sa assessment ko sir corruption will continue to go on and on at wala na tayong magagawa. Alis na lang ako sir, hanap ako iba work,” he told Cabading.

PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales, during the previous hearing, said Laborte cited studies as reason for his resignation.

Laborte did not deny this during Tuesday’s hearing. “Nagpaalam naman po ako ng maayos at sinabi ko po na ang intention ko is to go back to school and to study, which is true naman,” he said.

Laborte did not attend the previous hearing, backing out at the last minute due to “security reasons.” During Tuesday’s hearing, he questioned the bidding process for information technology projects of the state insurer.

PhilHealth and its officials are under investigation over the agency’s alleged overpriced purchase of an IT system worth over P2 billion.

Cabading had earlier tagged four executive committee members as a “mafia” operating within the agency.

Morales said  that Cabading has an axe to grind against management due to a failure to broker a deal./Stacy Ang

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