PhilHealth mess: Lacson seeks ‘moratorium’ on corruption amid pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson is calling for a “moratorium” on corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) as the country continues to reel from the coronavirusdisease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Lacson issued this call as the Senate investigates fresh allegations of corruption in the agency.
“We’re facing a pandemic, this is a serious health crisis, mataas na yung ating COVID-19 cases, baka naman pwedeng magkaroon tayo ng moratorium sa corruption,” Lacson said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel on Thursday.
(We’re facing a pandemic, this is a serious health crisis, the number of cases in the country is high, maybe we can have a moratorium on corruption.)
“Hopefully, yung moratorium parang mag-serve as a dress rehearsal para maging permanente na yung aversion sa corruption,” he added.
(Hopefully, that moratorium will serve as a dress rehearsal for the permanent aversion to corruption.)
On Tuesday, senators grilled PhilHealth officials about a proposed P2.1-billion information technology project, which state auditors had earlier flagged as overpriced; a supposedly questionable release of funds under the corporation’s Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM); and the alleged manipulation of the corporation’s financial status.
A recently resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud officer also bared during the same hearing that a supposed mafia within the agency has so far pocketed P15 billion.
Later in the hearing, a sitting PhilHealth board member tagged four members of the executive committee as part of the so-called “mafia.”
“As per the testimonies of at least two of the witnesses, there seems to be a mafia-like syndicate operating in PhilHealth, and these syndicate’s composed of members of the execom,” Lacson said.
“We intend to dig deeper into [that] because if corruption has become systemic in an organization, there must be a deeply rooted group or a clique responsible for the corruption,” he pointed out.
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