By Junex Doronio
AS SEVERAL SECTORS raise hell and want to axe the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) officials allegedly involved in the P15-billion corruption, Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday called for their suspension.
She explained that by suspending the Philhealth officials suspected of having dipped their fingers into the proverbial cookie jar, the two houses of Congress would be able to conduct a more thorough investigation on the issues hounding the state insurance agency.
“Dapat sana may suspension para makabwelo yung mga mag-iimbestiga (It would be better to have a suspension to allow investigators to do look into the issue more thoroughly),” the Vice President said in her weekly radio show on Sunday.
Robredo pointed out that it was not enough that PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales and Executive Vice President Arnel de Jesus notified the Senate of their unfavorable medical conditions ahead of the hearing next week.
But on Sunday, the PhilHealth in a statement said Morales “had every intention” to participate in the Senate investigation into fresh allegations of corruption.
“As President and Chief Executive, it is my duty to represent the Corporation while still physically capable. I regret that my privacy was not respected,” Morales said.
However, he asked Senate to allow him to attend the hearing through video conference instead of physically.
“Diagnosed with cancer in February of this year and undergoing chemotherapy, Morales continues to hold office against medical advice,” the agency said.
It can be recalled that last week in the course of a Senate probe it was revealed that PhilHealth officials allegedly stole some ₱15 billion through different fraud schemes, Morales repeatedly endorsed a “bloated” budget for IT equipment and software.
On the other hand, the House Committee on Public Accounts also reported that the Commission on Audit was barred access to PhilHealth’s computers when it tried to look into its audit records and hospital claims in 2019.