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Kailangan ng saklay dahil sa sablay: Ping finds PhilHealth chief’s explanations very lame

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He may have been a fierce fighter in the armed forces, but Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) president Ricardo Morales may now need crutches – to prop up the lame explanations he offered on corruption at his agency.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said this Wednesday as he expressed dissatisfaction with Morales’ answers at the Senate hearing on the PhilHealth mess Tuesday.

“Di pa ako nakarinig ng ganoon ka lame na reasoning. Parang kailangan ng prosthetic ang reasoning na ganoon, so lame it cannot stand on its feet. Walang pinagbabasehan,” Lacson said.

He was referring to his questions to Morales regarding overpricing of IT equipment.

Lacson said Morales’ erstwhile HEA, Etrobal Laborte, had red-flagged the overpricing yet Morales said he was not an IT person and did not know whether to trust Laborte’s claims.

“Ayoko ko sa lahat ang tinatanong ka parang si Sec Duque, turo ng turo. Kaya tinatanong mo ikaw ang top diyan ikaw ang honcho. Tapos tuturo ka sa tao mo ikaw sumagot diyan ang tinatanong ikaw eh. So doon pa lang makita mo weakness ng leadership,” Lacson said.

Also, Lacson questioned Morales’ failure to start weeding out corruption after one year at the helm.

“Kung potentially P10B nawawala may basehan ka roon. Being CEO and president ng PhilHealth di ba incumbent upon him to immediately conduct at least an inquiry? May antifraud officer siya Atty Keith job order lang yan. Ang maganda sa next hearing I will ask him anong effort gagawin niya, lagi tanong niya hindi ako IT expert. At saka hindi rin siya, basta hindi kapanipaniwala. Ang responses niya minsan nakakainis na eh,” Lacson said.

“Kung isang taon ka na riyan nariyan pa rin corruption at parang walang nangyayari, dalawa lang ang possibilities dito. Either you are being misled and you continue to be misled by your people; or co-opted ka na,” he added.

Lacson also threw a jab at Morales’ claim that he has “not finished (his) job.”

“Kailan mo matatapos ang job mo kung ayaw mo tapusin? E corruption ang dapat mo harapin, sagot mo I have not finished my job? When do you intend? Di ka pa nga nag-start eh. Kaya tatanungin natin what have you done to start your job of weeding out corruption in PhilHealth? Kasi sabi mo I have not finished my job. When did you start? Or have you even started? Apparently he has not started,” he said.

Also, Lacson noted that when he asked Laborte and resigned anti-fraud officer Thorrsson Keith if they thought Morales had been misled or co-opted, they both thought Morales was co-opted.

Lacson also said that while Morales may have started with good intentions, he may have committed the so-called sin of omission by not going all out against corruption.

“May tinatawag na sin of commission and omission. Kung ibabase ko kahapon ang sagot niya, at the very least meron siyang omission dahil bilang president and CEO ng PhilHealth may pinarating sa iyong red flag, ang sarili mong HEA na ikaw talaga, position of trust yan. E di mo paniwalaan,” he said.

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