Ex-PhilHealth chief Garin confirms existence of mafia, says ‘Malakas ang mafia sa loob’

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Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Loreto-Garin, who is a former Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) chairperson, on Wednesday confirmed an existence of a “mafia” in the agency, who are involved in corruption during her stint.

Garin, during an interview on Dobol B sa News TV, said some people in PhilHealth were even making efforts to block her participation in the board of officials.

“Masyado pong malakas ang ‘mafia’ sa loob,” Garin  said.

“When I joined the PhilHealth as the chairman of the board, ang unang-una kong experience noon hindi ako pinapayagang umupo sa board. Pilit na hinarang ng iilang nanandoon,” Garin  said.

Garin’s statement was made amid the ongoing investigations on the alleged organized corruption in PhilHealth involving a “mafia.”

Garin said she  unraveled a scheme where beneficiaries undergoing a cataract treatment were automatically signed up for removal of warts.

“Mas nagtaka po ako. Unang-una kong ginawa, pinatanggal ko ‘yung package on warts removal. Kasi, ginagamit lang siya,” she said.

“Parang iilan lang ‘yung may alam noon na kung nagpapagamot ka ng katarata mo, nilalagyan na rin agad na nagpapatanggal ka ng kulugo,” she said.

Garin said she romoved the warts removals from the benefit package and filed cases against those who were involved in the scheme.

“They are not afraid of cases. Why? Sasabihin nila ‘yan, ‘Hanggang Supreme Court pa ‘yan, magpapalit na lang ang panahon, mamatay na lang  ang mga tao, walang mangyayari’,” she said.

Garin said she suspended from work those who were facing cases to stop the continuity of fraudulent schemes.

Recently, PhilHealth’s former anti-fraud legal officer Thorrsson Montes Keith claimed that a “mafia” inside the agency was able to steal some P15 billion from the state insurer through several fraudulent schemes.

He noted that the “mafia” has deep roots in the agency, including top officials in the executive committee.

Keith said among the fraudulent schemes being employed are the cash advances, the use of the interim reimbursement mechanism, and the continuous procurement of IT equipment the agency already has.

PhilHealth has denied the allegations./Stacy Ang

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