PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales (File photo)
MANILA – Several officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), including its president and CEO Ricardo Morales, have signed bank secrecy waivers allowing the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to check their transactions amid the alleged irregularities within the agency.
During a joint House inquiry into the alleged corruption in PhilHealth, House Committee on Public Accounts chair Mike Defensor bared that Morales was one of the 14 high-ranking PhilHealth officials who have already signed a bank secrecy waiver.
The other officials were executive vice president and COO Arnel de Jesus, senior vice president (SVP) Dennis Mas, SVP Rodolfo Del Rosario Jr., SVP Jovita Argona, Acting SVP Nerissa Santiago, SVP Renato Limsiaco Jr., SVP Israel Francis Pargas, VP Oscar Abadu, Corporate Secretary Jonathan Mangaoang, VP Shirley Domingo, Area VP Walter Bacareza, Area VP Francisco Soria, and Senior Manager Bernadette Lico.
“Binibigyan nila ng karapatan kung sino man ang mag-iimbestiga na tignan ang kanilang mga bank accounts ([The waivers] give probers the right to check their [PhilHealth officials] bank accounts),” Defensor said.
In the previous House hearing, Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte dared PhilHealth officials to sign a bank secrecy waiver in the spirit of transparency.
Eight officials have already agreed to sign the waiver last week, but Morales was not able to commit as he left in the middle of the hearing due to a “nausea attack”.
Resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud officer Thorsson Montes Keith has earlier claimed that some PHP15 billion of the agency’s funds had been pocketed by some corrupt officials.
Keith also claimed that all members of the state firm’s executive committee composed the “mafia”, which had been allegedly siphoning funds from PhilHealth in the past years through fraudulent transactions. (PNA)