MANILA – Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) President Ricardo Morales "is siding with one group of partisans" in the state-run insurance firm, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Wednesday.
Senate investigations into alleged irregularities in PhilHealth showed that there are "2 groups fighting" within the agency, Drilon said in an online press conference.
"It is obvious the bureaucracy is split in PhilHealth… my suspicion is he (Morales) is siding with one group of partisans," the senator said.
"I would not question his integrity but his ability as a manager is questioned if this episode is true," he said.
"If there are 2 groups fighting, that is not a very good indication of his leadership," he added.
Morales has been defending the actions of one group, while blaming another set of officials in the agency, Drilon said, noting that hospitals in his home province Iloilo have yet to be reimbursed for the COVID-19-related expenses allegedly because the regional vice president of Western Visayas was a "perceived enemy" of Morales' clique.
"Such factions would affect the efficiency of the organization
and that is evident and I would go back to the example of my region," the Senate Minority Leader said.
But Drilon said that having factions in PhilHealth may have been a blessing in disguise as officials have been "squealing" on the misdeeds of others.
"Everybody is put on guard because your co-employee next to you could squeal on you," he said."
"It can be a source of people making public what they see as malpractices in the institution," he said.
Drilon said changing the PhilHealth leadership may not be enough to dismantle the so-called "mafia" and "factions" in the insurance firm as "corruption is endemic and systemic" in the agency.
"There must be standards that must be set in order for favoritism and suspicions of corruption will not take place," he said.