‘Yayariin ko kayo’: Duterte threatens corrupt PhilHealth officials

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 11) — President Rodrigo Duterte warned that he would get rid of officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) who would be found liable for acts of corruption.

"Itong PhilHealth, sabi ko yayariin ko kayo, maniwala kayo. Iyong mga inosente naman, wala kayong dapat i-ano, tahimik lang kayo at continue working,” Duterte said in his weekly address on Monday night.

[Translation: With PhilHealth, I will go after you all. Believe me. Those who are innocent have nothing to worry about, just stay silent and continue working.]

The President added corrupt PhilHealth officials might have evaded prosecution for their wrongdoings during previous administrations, but vowed he would go after them.

Kung nakalusot kayo sa ibang president, sa akin sadsad kayo,” warned Duterte, who said he will check with Commission on Audit on the real figures of alleged irregularities in PhilHealth.

[Translation: If you got away with other president, you cannot escape with me.]

Duterte delivered a tough stance against corruption after the state health insurance agency got hounded anew in alleged irregularities.

Key whistleblower Thorrsson Montes Keith, former anti-fraud legal officer of PhilHealth, accused key officials of stealing ₱15 billion from the agency using different fraudulent schemes. The amount covers the unauthorized release of interim reimbursement mechanisms, funds allocated for "fortuitous events" such as the pandemic, to hospitals that have not yet recorded COVID-19 cases.

PhilHealth board member Alejandro Cabading revealed the agency's President and CEO Ricardo Morales endorsed the 'bloated' allocations for the agency’s IT expenses, even if some items were not approved by the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

Some of the overpriced software and equipment include ₱21 million for Adobe Master Collection software, ₱42 million for identity management software, ₱21 million for office productivity software, and ₱25 million for application server, virtualization licenses and support maintenance.

Last August 7, Duterte ordered the creation of an inter-agency task force to investigate the corruption issues in PhilHealth. The task force is composed of the Department of Justice, Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, Office of the Executive Secretary, Undersecretary Jesus Melchor Quitain of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.

The President said he will not fire Morales from his post, unless there is evidence he is involved in corruption in the agency. Morales, who was appointed by Duterte in June 2019 with a mandate to end corrupt practices in the agency, denied all the accusations thrown against him.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives began their respective investigations into the beleaguered state health insurance agency. The Senate probe resumes on Tuesday.