Senator Panfilo Lacson said the existing "mafia" in Philhealth should be uprooted to stop the widespread corruption plaguing the state health insurer.
"For me, it is more important to uproot the mafia," said Lacson in an interview with dzBB.
This was his response when asked if there was a need for Philhealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales to be replaced or to take a leave of absence following the fresh corruption issues under his leadership.
"Whoever you put at Philhealth, it seems the mafia inside, which has been calling the shots, is so powerful," Lacson said.
The senator, however, refused to accept Morales' reasoning that not even Superman can solve the corruption problem of PhilHealth.
Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief, said anybody can succeed at reforming Philhealth if one smart enough and is not co-opted.
"It's good those from the inside spoke about it. Now, they have resorted to fingerpointing. Everytime we asked questions, they gave us lengthy answers which were not responsive," he said.
The Senate of the whole is conducting an investigation into the alleged corruption at Philhealth.
For his part, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said a persistent lack of transparency and accountability has contributed to the financial troubles being faced by PhilHealth.
Angara said PhilHealth has failed to shape up despite repeated adverse findings issued by the Commission kn Audit.
“Basically, what the COA has been saying for many years now is PhilHealth has not been transparent because mayroon siyang mga understated or overstated income. Tapos yung benefit payments hindi supported,” Angara said.
“And yet the same actors are still in place and that’s why I’m wondering. If this was a private corporation, those in charge of the financial statements should have long been fired," the senator added.