Sotto expects Duterte to fire ‘all’ PhilHealth execs with ‘whiff of corruption’
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday said he expects President Rodrigo Duterte to fire Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) officials embroiled in the latest corruption allegations in the state-run insurance firm.
Sotto is banking on the President’s promise that he would fire government officials even for just a “whiff of corruption.”
“I expect him to relieve some people. Lahat ng mga na-involve sa anomalya. Lahat ng mayroong whiff ng corruption,” Sotto told reporters in an online interview.
(I expect him to relieve some people. All those involved in the anomaly. All those with whiff of corruption.)
“Maraming magpapalakpakan na mga tao, mga kababayan natin ‘pag biglang ginawa ni Presidente ‘yan,” he added.
(Many will praise the President if he does that.)
Sotto was referring to PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales and members of the executive committee, who are being tagged in an alleged anomaly on the proposed P2.1 billion information technology (IT) project.
For Sotto, Duterte should remove everyone involved and not just the head of the agency.
“Kung magre-revamp siya rito ngayon, ‘wag katulad nung nakaraang revamp, tinanggal lang ‘yung puno, ‘yung nasa taas pero naiwan ‘yung mga galamay na nagpi-piyesta,” he said.
(If Duterte will do a revamp in the agency now, it should not be like the revamp where only the head was removed, and those below were allowed to stay, the tentacles who are indulging.)
In a previous Senate hearing, senators quizzed PhilHealth officials over the proposed IT project, which state auditors earlier flagged as being overpriced; as well as the supposedly questionable release of funds under the corporation’s Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM); and alleged manipulation of the corporation’s financial status.
A recently resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud officer also claimed that a mafia-like syndicate operating in the agency allegedly pocketed P15 billion through various schemes, which the state health insurer has already denied in the “strongest terms.”
The Senate is set to continue its investigation on corruption issues plaguing PhilHealth on August 11, Tuesday.
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