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Not a whiff but a cesspool of corruption at PhilHealth — Barbers

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) no longer sends out a whiff of corruption. The stink there comes from one, big cesspool.

Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers gave this assessment Monday as he echoed calls for officials of the state-run health insurance agency to voluntarily step down.

Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers

“Now, if there is still a little propriety and delicadeza left among the top honchos of PhilHealth, spare President Duterte more trouble and embarrassment by resigning. Face the investigation,” said Barbers, a vice chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts.

The Public Accounts panel, chaired by Anakalugusan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor, has led the House of Representatives’ inquiry on the alleged massive abuse of public funds at PhilHealth, which has been further magnified by the persisting public health crisis brought by COVID-19.

“It’s been more than a week since we started investigating and as we investigate, almost everyday, there are discoveries being made on the anomalies being committed by PhilHealth officials,” Barbers said.

“This doesn’t merely send a whiff of corruption anymore. This is already a cesspool. Yung amoy nanunuot na. Dumidikit na sa damit (The stench is penetrating. It stays on your clothes),” the Mindanaoan lawmaker said.

One of the signature promises of President Duterte is to deal with public officials suspected of even a whiff of corruption. But Barbers said the situation is way worse at PhilHealth.

“It’s a cesspool. Definitely, the Committee Report will reflect all these anomalies that the Committee has discovered and recommend the filing of appropriate administrative and criminal charges,” the congressman said.

PhilHealth’s chairman of the board, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III, has been the subject of tirades from Barbers the past few weeks. This is because of his various faux pas and perceived failure of leadership in combating the COVID pandemic.

“I don’t know why he is still there,” Barbers said.

Defensor had earlier recommended the filing of plunder charges against PhilHealth officials, even those in the regional level, in connection with the billion-peso corruption allegations.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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