President Duterte approves raps vs former PhilHealth chief Morales, others

President Duterte has approved the filing of charges against former PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales and others over alleged corruption in the state insurer./PCOO/

(Eagle News)–President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendations of a task force to file charges against former PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales and several others in connection with corruption in the state insurer.

The President gave his tacit approval as he read out on Monday night the recommendations of the task force formed by the Department of Justice, and which had been submitted in a report to the President on the same day.

Based on the report, among those to be charged both criminally and administratively apart from Morales were Senior Vice President Jovita Aragona, Officer in Charge Calixto Gabuya Jr., Senior Vice President Renato Limsiaco Jr., Senior Vice President Israel Pargas, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Arnel de Jesus, and Division Chief Bobby Crisostomo.

The task force, however, spared Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, whom the Senate had recommended be charged following its inquiry in aid of legislation.

The task force report only urged the President to “strongly admonish and remind” the Health secretary and other ex-officio members of the PhilHealth board of the “grave consequences of action or inaction.”

The task force was formed upon the instructions of President Duterte following the revelations of Thorrsson Montes Keith, a former PhilHealth antifraud officer.

Keith had said there was a PhilHealth “mafia” that had pocketed over P15 billion in PhilHealth funds.

PhilHealth also came under scrutiny with its proposal for a P2.1-billion IT program which some lawmakers had deemed overpriced.

PhilHealth has denied the allegations of corruption.

The Office of the Ombudsman has suspended 13 PhilHealth officials so far.