PhilHealth ‘mafia very much active’, says Sen. Lacson

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Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said it was “revolting to see the PhilHealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corp) mafia very much active,” as the agency struggles to manage its depleting resources, while trying to cover treatment costs of coronavirus patients in the country.

He earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 475, urging the higher chamber to constitute the Committee of the Whole to look into the “alleged rampant corruption, incompetence and inefficiency.”

The senator said he knows witnesses who are “willing to testify and detail” the alleged corruption at the agency.

“At the outset, I can say that this new Senate investigation will reveal the same cast of characters, or at least a number of them, that we already exposed in a Senate inquiry in August last year after my ‘PhilHealth and the Department of Wealth’ privilege speech on July 29, 2019,” Lacson said.

“I would say, the syndicate is back with a vengeance – or at least its core group has never left.”

“They must have mastered the art of influence-peddling as they seem to continue to gain access to the ‘corridors of power’,” he added.

The allegations involving Philhealth started to gain traction and reliable when the agency’s anti-fraud legal officer, Thorrsson Montes Keith, submitted his resignation due to the perversive corruption in the agency.

Keith also cited the delayed salaries and hazard pay as reason for his resignation, which allegedly started when he investigated some officers in the state-run insurance agency.

PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales stood his ground and said he would not resign. He also said he would face the Senate inquiry over the allegations, as there is no evidence to prove any illegal acts on his part.