‘Illegal orders:’ Ex anti-fraud exec says PhilHealth boss asked him to ‘fix WellMed case’
MANILA, Philippines — A resigned anti-fraud legal officer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) has claimed that the agency’s president and CEO Ricardo Morales ordered him to “find a way” for WellMed Dialysis Center to secure re-accreditation after it was tagged in a “ghost dialysis” scheme in 2019.
During Tuesday’s resumption of the Senate investigation into allegations of corruption in PhilHealth, former anti-fraud legal officer Thorrsson Montes Keith bared alleged “illegal orders” from Morales.
“He has his penmanship here, this is a very alarming case. This was involving the WellMed case. I think it’s four days or five days before I resigned, he told me also to fix the WellMed case. That was my last time…I can no longer handle the illegal orders from Gen. Morales,” Keith claimed during the hearing.
He said Morales asked him to “find a way” to have WellMed and Dr. Porshia Natividad, who were among the personalities named in the dialysis scam, to be accredited again.
“He told me to find a way for the WellMed Dialysis Center to be accredited…The accreditation of Dr. Portia Natividad, [to] find a way for her to be accredited again,” Keith alleged.
In June last year, PhilHealth rescinded its accreditation of WellMed after allegedly claiming benefits on behalf of its deceased clients.
“He (Morales) trusts me but I informed him that I do not want to be doing this,” he added.
But Morales denied Keith’s allegation, saying he did not ask the former PhilHealth officer to “fix” the accreditation of WellMed or Natividad.
“The accusation of Atty. Keith regarding Dr. Portia Natividad, I asked him to clarify it not to fix it because according to Dr. Portia Natividad, her signature was forged in the claims,” the PhilHealth chief said.
“That’s what I wanted him to clear up, if her signature was forged,” he added.
According to Morales, he was just “trying to help out” after a PhilHealth board member brought up Natividad’s situation.
“Dr. Natividad’s only source of income is practicing her profession…If they are deprived of this living, they cannot support themselves. In this case, I was informed by one of the board members that according to Dr. Natividad, her signature was forged,” he said.
“I did not instruct him (Keith) to fix. I told him to resolve it if there is basis, if indeed the signature of Dr. Portia Natividad was forged as was her claim,” he stressed.
‘Massage’ COVID-19 testing case?
Morales also denied that he ordered Keith to “massage” the investigation pending in the Presidential Anti-Corruption Council (PACC) involving the agency’s allegedly overpriced COVID-19 testing rates.
Morales recalled that he asked Keith to “liaise” with PACC after it was raised during a previous Senate hearing that PhilHealth’s rates for COVID-19 testing were allegedly overpriced.
“We were charged that our testing rates were overpriced, which we maintain up to today were not overpriced…I thought that a simple clarification with PACC would resolve the matter,” the PhilHealth chief said.
“I did not tell him to ‘massage.’ I never used that word,” he added.
Morales said he instructed Keith to “stop the liaison” with PACC once PhilHealth receives a subpoena from the commission.
“Because it would be already interfering in a formal investigation so that was the reason I told him,” he added.
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