MANILA – Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Sunday said he wanted the suspension of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) officials while investigation on corruption against them is ongoing.
In an interview over DZBB, Go said the suspension would prevent PhilHealth officials from influencing the ongoing investigation being conducted by the newly-formed task force led by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The Senate and the House of Representatives as well as the Office of the Special Assistant to the President and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) are also conducting separate investigations on anomalies hounding the state insurer.
“Importante talagang masuspende muna para po hindi makagalaw. Suspende, imbestiga, file charges po, at i-audit, lifestyle check po, tingnan mo yang kung sino yung matagal nang nasa katiwalian (It’s really important to have them suspended so they won’t be able to move. Suspend them, investigate, file charges, audit, conduct a lifestyle check and see who is really involved in corruption),” he said.
Go said once investigation is over, the Filipinos will want to see corrupt PhilHealth officials in jail.
He expressed alarm over massive corruption in PhilHealth, saying it was “unacceptable” for even a single peso to be misspent.
“Naghihirap ang taong-bayan. Hindi po katanggap-tanggap, ni piso po dapat walang mawala sa PhilHealth (People are suffering. It’s unacceptable. Even a peso should not be stolen),” he said.
Meanwhile, Go said he will “respect” the decision of PhilHealth president and chief executive Ricardo Morales should he not to attend the resumption of the Senate investigation into alleged irregularities in the state insurer after his health condition was disclosed.
Reports showed that Morales needed to undergo treatment for lymphoma and his doctor advised him to take a leave of absence.
Go, however, expressed hope that Morales would still be able to help the investigation.
“I’m praying for his speedy recovery. Nabalitaan ko rin po na meron siyang sakit at nagke-chemotherapy. Karapatan naman po ni Gen. Morales na mag-leave and I am confident po na tutulong pa rin siya sa imbestigasyon (I heard that he is sick and is undergoing chemotherapy. It’s his right to go on a leave and I am confident he would still be able to help with the investigation),” he said.
In a statement on Sunday, the PhilHealth said Morales has requested for the Senate to allow his online presence instead of his physical presence in the next Senate hearing.
Besides Morales, PhilHealth executive vice president Arnel De Jesus may also unlikely show up because he was confined in a hospital.
Earlier, resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud legal officer Thorsson Montes Keith claimed that around PHP15 billion of the agency’s funds have been pocketed by corrupt PhilHealth officials.
Keith bared that all members of PhilHealth’s executive committee composed the “mafia,” which had been allegedly defrauding the state corporation for the past years through unlawful transactions.
His allegations came after PhilHealth acting senior vice president Nerissa Santiago’s admission that the state-owned insurance firm could go bankrupt in 2021 due to the decreased collections and increased payouts for the health expenses of its members due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). (PNA)