“Duterte Directs Check on Suspected Irregularities in Philippine Health”

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has directed an inquiry into suspected anomalies in the procurement of an information management program by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., which allegedly created a dispute between some officials of the health insurance corporation and its president and chief executive Ricardo Morales.

A discussion between Morales and his representatives as well as some Cabinet secretaries last Wednesday witnessed some tense debates about the IT program which lead to at least one Philippine Health official handing in his letter of resignation.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has reported the departure of lawyer Thorrsson Montes Keith, an anti-fraud compliance officer at PhilHealth. Roque said he had only seen Keith’s letter of resignation so far, despite news that two others resigned. He that the President “ordered” Undersecretary Jose Melchor Quitain, head of the President’s Office of the Special Assistant to perform the inquiry.

Keith said his resignation took effect on Aug. 31 in his 23 July letter to Morales, which was supported by an Inquirer source and which Roque also claimed to have seen. Among the factors he listed were his confidence in widespread graft in PhilHealth and his resistance to the overseas Filipino employees’ mandatory payment of PhilHealth contributions that he claimed was “unconstitutional” and contradictory to the Universal Health Act.

Lastly, he claimed in the recruitment phase of the department, there was a need for an impartial organization to look at “the systematic and patent unfairness.

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