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Ex-PhilHealth exec: Morales ordered me to ‘smooth out’ overpriced test kits issue with PACC 

/ 12:14 PM August 04, 2020

PhilHealth’s former anti-fraud legal officer Thorrsson Montes Keith. Screengrab from online Senate inquiry

MANILA, Philippines — Resigned anti-fraud legal officer Thorrsson Montes Keith claimed Tuesday that Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) president Ricardo Morales had ordered him to smooth out the issue of the “overpriced” COVID-19 testing involving the agency.

“May pagkakataon na inutusan pa po ako ni Brig. Gen. Ricardo Morales na puntahan ko si Commissioner Greco Belgica para hilutin ang kaso ng PhilHealth sa overpriced testing kits,” Keith told the Senate as it opened its probe into allegations of corruption in the agency.

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(There was a time Brig. Gen. Ricardo Morales asked me to approach Commissioner Greco Belgica to smooth out the case of PhilHealth regarding overprices testing kits.)

Belgica is an official of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), which was ordered to probe alleged irregularities in PhilHealth.

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The PACC’s investigation was launched following reports in May of overpriced COVID-19 test packages being offered by the state-owned insurer.

But Keith said he did not heed Morales’ request.

“Inayawan ko po ang utos at sinabi ko po kay Brig. Gen. Morales na ‘Ano na lang po ang tingin sa akin ni Commissioner Greco Belgica kapag pakikiusapan ko siya hinggil sa kaso?’” he said.

(I refused to follow the order and told Brig. Gen. Morales that “what would Commissioner Greco Belgica would say to me if I asked him a favor regarding the case?”)

“Namula po si Brig. Gen.  Ricardo Morales nung sinabi ko yun,” he added.

(Brig. Gen. Ricardo Morales’s face turned blush when I told him that.)

Keith was among several PhilHealth officials who resigned after a controversial meeting that escalated into a forum for heated exchanges over the agency’s allegedly overpriced IT system.

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Keith had also earlier accused Morales of being a “coddler or may have been the new leader of the syndicate” skimming off premiums paid by PhilHealth members.

But Morales, former Army brigadier general, had said Keith was only “vengeful” after supposedly being denied a position he was applying for.

JPV
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TAGS: anti-fraud legal officer Thorrsson Montes Keith, COVID-19 Testing, Nation, news, Philhealth, PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales, Senate investigation
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