UNCENSORED: Speaking of Philhealth

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By Manuel L. Morato

According to a frontpage article of the Manila Standard (June 17, 2021), “The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed a graft and administrative complaint filed by some of the employees of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) against their former and incumbent officials for getting back at their subordinates.”  The article was written by Rio N. Araja, Manila Standard.

“For lack of merit… the Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the graft and administrative complaint…”

In my opinion, maybe the “Special Panel of Investigators” junking the complaint against Senior Vice President for Management for Management Services Sector Dennis Mas, Vice President for Corporate Planning and Organizational and System Development Office, Shirley Domingo, SVP for Legal Services Sector Rodolfo del Rosario, Jr.  Supervising Health Program Officer Raul Padilla, SVP for Health Finance Policy Sector Israel Pargas, Corporate Legal Counsel Angelito Grande, Atty. IV for Philhealth National Capital Region Lawrence Mijares, Auditing Systems Specialist and Acting Senior Manager for Human Resources Leila Guazon for lack of probable (cause, I guess) on the charges of Violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act 3019,” the “Dismissal of the Complaint for grave misconduct, oppression and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service due to lack of substantial evidence,” the usual statement was used.  The “Special Panel of Investigators” must examine their conscience.

Fine and well, but the possibility is not remote.  For the Ombudsman, Honorable Samuel Martires to affirm, he has no choice for if there are individuals to blame, it’s always through the recommendation of the members of the “Special Panel of Investigators” who junked the complaint, as this same panel decided without any evidence against the PCSO board members in 2011 or thereabout.

Honestly, I had a very bad experience and my co-PCSO members as well who suffered from the maneuverings inside the Office of the Ombudsman then.  What happened to us when Mrs. Conchita Morales was the Ombudsman, on the mere letter of now Senator Risa Hontiveros, then a member of the Akbayan, Ombudsman Morales approved that cases be lodged against the appointees of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the PCSO, instigated by then Chairman Margie Juico.

Without a single evidence, their case against us was approved by the former Ombudsman and forwarded to the Sandiganbayan, again based on the “decision” of the Ombudsman’s “Special Panel of Investigators.”

It’s a long story to tell.  The injury has been done to us.  False charges based only a mere say-so of that Risa Hontiveros something, was accepted by then Ombudsman Morales.  They needed to blame others in order to camouflage their planned PCSO “operations.”  To think that I was close to the mother and father of Risa Hontiveros who used to come to my place.  They were good people, but I cannot say the same about the daughter.  Taga outer-space yata siya! 

Unfortunately, the Honorable Ombudsman Samuel Martires would find it extremely difficult to change the system he inherited. But something has to be done.

* * * * *

My sisters and I filed a case against a group who land grabbed the property of our mother which our mother inherited from our late father; for her and us, her six children. But this group I am referring to managed through falsified documents, to transfer the titles in the name of our mother to our youngest brother, Jose Morato (or Pit/Pete as he is called by others), an associate of the Belmontes as he himself related to me when I was confined in the hospital.  The properties were transferred to him and eventually transferred to the Belmontes.  It’s all documented.  Falsified but did us so much harm.

This brother had told me that he is the dummy of the Belmontes, father of the 4 children: Joy Belmonte Alimurung, now Mayor of Quezon City; and her 3 brothers – Isaac, Miguel, Kevin whom I’ve known since they were young kids of Betty Go-Belmonte and Sonny Belmonte and it’s all coming out now.

Betty Go-Belmonte had passed away many years ago.  She had no participation in what happened to us.  Were she alive, what happened to us would have never, never happen.  She was a close and dear friend.  She had delicadeza and a sense of right and wrong.

The former Barangay Chairman Alberto Flores, allegedly a relative of Raul Lambino, a friend of mine, never told us what was happening.  It was kept a secret.  Barangay Chairman Alberto Flores gave all the permits by himself to demolish the ancestral home of our parents.  He did not even notify me nor any of my other siblings, considering I know him and his wife well.  We found out that my mother’s property was soon demolished without notifying us, heirs of our mother.

Republic Act 10066 prohibiting the demolition of structures 50 years old and above must obtain a clearance from the Court; more so, my father was the First Mayor of Quezon City appointed by then President Manuel Quezon in October 12, 1939, the day the City Charter was signed and our ancestral home was considered historical.

What I am trying to say is, since we filed cases against those who have done us wrong, including then Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte Alimurung for granting “Special Permit” to her own family who suddenly owned my mother’s property, we were told that with the approval of the Vice Mayor, a 21 storey condo hotel can be allowed and erected even in a residential area for as long as then Vice Mayor (Joy Belmonte Alimurung) approves it.  But it is against the law for a government official to use her powers to favor her own relatives, which she clearly did in favor of her own family, but disguised under another name.  Exy Robles of Sta. Lucia Builder told me that all the necessary documents – application and other permits were put under his name to cover-up for the Belmontes.

I never helped any member of my family when I headed the PCSO in extending assistance to any relative of mine up to the 4th degree of consanguinity.  Itong ginawa nila, first degree was given “Special Permit.”  The Belmontes disguised it through my youngest brother who even told me that he is the dummy of the Belmontes when I asked him when I was in the hospital.  He even told me how they did things together, including “land-grabbing,” when we were still in good terms.  

This case was filed by our lawyers in the Ombudsman almost three years ago but led to nowhere.  Every month I sent a representative to find out about the progress of the investigation.  Every month, our representative reported to us about the progress of the Special Panel of Investigators:  “Still under investigation.”  Every month the same answer.  Those are the same members who decided against us in the PCSO when President PNoy was in office, which then Ombudsman Morales headed it.

If this system continues, then it’s about time to abolish the Office of the Ombudsman and replace it with the Jury System for the public to judge on all erring public officials.  As things are, small fries are convicted, never a big fish.

As we see it, until the Jury System is put in place in this country, there will never be true justice done to anyone.  We have heard of “parking fees” to delay the decisions; pressure from influence peddlers, pressure from those in power, etc… I leave it to your own opinions.  To many, they all say that something wrong is happening.

On my part, let us do what is right; let us fight for Justice; and let’s keep on loving our country and people.  Enough of politics and corruption.  Let the laws of God prevail; and let those who kowtow with corruptors be damned.

For comments and suggestions email at mlmorato@yahoo.com