Senate grants protection to 3 PhilHealth whistleblowers

THE Senate on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, granted legislative immunity to three whistleblowers from the graft-ridden Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Senator Panfilo Lacson moved to grant the plea of PhilHealth board member Alejandro Cabading, former head executive assistant Estrobal Laborte and anti-fraud lawyer Thorrsson Montes Keith.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, as chairperson of the committee of the whole, approved Lacson’s motion when no one from the panel objected.

In a radio interview on August 8, Lacson said Keith and Cabading sent a letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III last August 6, asking protection from prosecution and penalties.

“I think nagpadala sila ng letter request kay Senate President Vicente Sotto III na humingi sila ng legislative immunity. Nasabi ko rin kay Senate President,” Lacson said.

Cabading and Keith had testified against top executive officers of PhilHealth, saying they pocketed P15 billion of the agency’s funds.

Keith also alleged that PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales directed him to approach Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica and settle the issue over allegedly overpriced testing kits for Covid-19.

Morales vehemently denied the allegations of the former PhilHealth official.

Morales said Keith was hired as a job order contractor to do staff work under the Office of the President and was “in no position to discuss office matters being in the Corporation for only nine months.” (SunStar Philippines)


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