‘Mafia’ within PhilHealth confirmed

Iloilo Rep. Janette Loreto-Garin, a former chairman of Philippine Health Insurance Corp., on Wednesday confirmed the existence of a “mafia” in the agency whose members, she said, were involved in corruption during her stint.

Garin told Dobol B sa News TV that some people in PhilHealth were even trying to block her participation in the agency’s board when she led the agency.

“The Mafia within [the agency] was very strong,” Garin said.

“When I joined PhilHealth as chairman of the board, my first experience was not being allowed to sit on the board. I was being blocked by some people there,” Garin said.

She made her statement amid the ongoing investigations on the alleged organized corruption in PhilHealth involving a "mafia."

Garin said she discovered a scheme in which beneficiaries undergoing a cataract treatment were automatically signed up for wart removal.

“I wondered about that. The first thing I did was to remove the package on warts removal, and because the people involved were only being used,” Garin said.

She said she removed the wart removal from the benefit package and filed cases against those who were involved in the scheme.

“They were not afraid of cases. Why? Because they would say the cases would take too long and would even reach the Supreme Court. People would die waiting for the cases to be resolved,” Garin said.

Recently, PhilHealth’s former anti-fraud legal officer Thorrsson Montes Keith claimed that a "mafia" inside the agency was able to steal some P15 billion from the state insurer through several fraudulent schemes.

He said the "mafia" had deep roots in the agency, and it included the top officials in the executive committee.

Keith said among the fraudulent schemes being employed were the cash advances, the use of the interim reimbursement mechanism and the continuous procurement of IT equipment the agency already had.

Topics: Janette Loreto-Garin , Philippine Health Insurance Corp. , mafia , corruption
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