Alleged PhilHealth ‘mafia’ members named during Senate probe
MANILA, Philippines — A former board member of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) tagged several long-standing officials as being allegedly part of a “mafia” which has “control of all influence” within the agency.
Former PhilHealth board member Roberto Salvador named the seven personalities during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing into the alleged fraud and corruption within the state insurance company.
“So, ‘yong ‘mafia,’ [ang] ginagamit naming definition is a closed group of people in a particular field having control of all influence,” Salvador said.
According to Salvador, most of them have held the same position in the agency for 20 years.
“Hindi ko sinasabi na meron silang case ng extortion, they have influence, ang ginagawa nila, sinisira nila ang present adminsitration kung gagalawin sila [sa pwesto],” he added.
Salvador said the following officials are part of the alleged “mafia:”
– Paolo Johan Perez, Regional Vice President (RVP) of PhilHealth Regional Office 4B
– Khaliquzzaman Macabato, RVP of PhilHealth Regional Office ARMM
– Valerie Anne Hollero, assistant corporate secretary
– Dennis Adre, RVP of PhilHealth Regional Office XII
– Masiding Alonto Jr., RVP of PhilHealth Regional Office Region X
– Jelbert Galicto, legal officer of PhilHealth Regional Office CARAGA; and
– William Chavez, RVP OF PhilHealth Regional Office Region VII
Salvador also alleged dismissed RVP for PhilHealth Regional Office VII Miriam Pamonag as part of the so-called “mafia.”
He further said that even President Rodrigo Duterte himself is aware of the group and that the latter had promised to dismiss the “mafia” members from their posts.
“I was able to grab the opportunity na sabihin kay Presidente about this ‘mafia.’ And the President told us that he knows this mafia,” he said. “So, the President knows the people and ang pangako niya samin tatanggalin niya lahat sa PhilHealth.”
Salvador made the revelation after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon pressed former PhilHealth president Roy Ferrer to reveal the identity of those belonging in the “mafia.”
Instead of giving direct answers, Ferrer hesitated to identify the group.
“They are being protected as not to be relocated or transferred,” the former PhilHealth president said.
“It’s not only me who knows this group, the board knows this group and in fact, these people were currently having…administrative cases,” he added.
When Ferrer kept on beating around the bush, Gordon turned to Salvador instead.
According to current PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales, he was also made aware of a “Mindanao group” who “were resisting rotation.”
But the tagged officials, who denied the allegations against them, said they were being singled out for unearthing fraudulent activities within the agency.
This after Gordon called the seven officials on the Senate floor to explain their side.
“The reason I think why they’re tagging us the ‘mafia,’ we were the ones who reported fraud and even testified in the August 22, 2017 hearing on good governance and public accountability [in the House of Representatives] wherein we reported the fraudulent activities going on in PhilHealth,” Hollero told the Senate committee.
“There are no fraudulent cases filed against us so it’s very unfair that we’re labeled as mafia, we’re labeled as corrupt,” she said.
She added that their role in baring fraudulent activities within PhilHealth might have been why “absurd” administrative cases were filed against them.
Hollero said that in September 2018, when Ferrer was still at the helm of PhilHealth, she was slapped with two 90-day preventive suspensions “for two days of not being in the log book of the security guard.”
Meanwhile, Adre maintained that they had consistently been “advocates for good governance” within the agency.
“In my 20 years of service with PhilHealth, we advocate for good governance. In fact, to address the perennial issues with PhilHealth policies, we’ve stood up against those fraud policies,” he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.