Resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud officer Thorsson Montes Keith accused Senior Vice President Augustus de Villa of ripping the pages of the anomalous documents during the Senate hearing on the agency’s alleged overpriced IT budget.
During the hearing on Tuesday, Senator Panfilo Lacson said pages of the document regarding an award for the purchase of overpriced network switches had been ripped.
Lacson said PhilHealth awarded a P4.8-million contract for 15 units of CISCO catalyst switches in 2019. However, the actual cost of the items in the market is only P939,000.
The senator said the procurement did not happen.
“As a matter of fact, I think one of the board members, sino ‘yung… kasi napirmahan na ito eh, and then medyo pinunit ‘yung mga pages na pirmado kasi alam niyang sasabit,” Lacson said.
(As a matter of fact, I think one of the board members who signed ripped the pages because it is already signed, he or she knows it’s anomalous.)
Resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud officer Thorsson Montes Keith said it was Senior Vice President Augustus de Villa who ripped the pages because he knew they were anomalous.
De Villa, who is a retired military general, denied the allegations.
“Noong time sir noon, wala po akong natandaang pinunit pero tinago ko po kasi, kasi I was informed by Col. Laborte na mataas nga raw sir ‘yung presyo…sabi ko ‘Ay, pagka ganyan medyo malabo ‘yan,'” he said at the hearing.
(I don’t remember ripping pages at the time but I kept it. Because I was informed by Col. Laborte that the price was high. So I said it could not proceed.)
De Villa said he had been very cautious when it comes to procurement in his 30-years military career.
He added he believes the documents are still there but he could not remember where they are, adding he will “try to find out.”
Senate President Vicente Sotto III then ordered the Senate secretariat to issue a subpoena duces tecum for the missing documents.
“This is not the first time that an IT equipment procurement is fraught with anomaly,” Lacson said.