‘Convincing, accurate,’ Roque says of ex-PhilHealth exec’s P15B fraud claims

MANILA, Philippines — Former Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) anti-fraud legal officer Thorrsson Montes Keith’s claim that the state insurer lost P15 billion due to a “syndicate” within the agency was “convincing,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Wednesday.

Keith, during a Senate hearing, said more or less P15 billion was “wasted or stolen” due to fraud.

Roque said he also had another source who said that PhilHealth was losing the same amount of funds annually.

“As someone who is familiar with pattern of fraud perpetrated in the PhilHealth, I would say that’s convincing because I had another source, more or less, that’s how much money being lost annually,”  Roque said in an interview over CNN Philippines, when sought for comment on Keith’s claims.

Prior to his return as Palace spokesman, Roque filed several complaints against former PhilHealth officials over alleged fictitious dialysis services and fake receipts issued to workers, among other irregularities.

“Well, when we initially brought to the public’s attention the WellMed scam, I was no longer spokesperson then, I was a private individual. We also had a source who said that for a period of time, PhilHealth lost about 154 billion more or less,” Roque said.

“So that’s why if you look what Atty. Keith said, perhaps, he is giving us an accurate estimate because he is not the only one who says that,” he went on.

Meanwhile, PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales said about P10.2 billion from the agency’s budget was “potentially lost” due to fraudulent transactions in 2019.