Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Task Force PhilHealth's recommendation 'just the beginning'

MALACA√ĎANG ON Tuesday said the probe into the alleged irregularities in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) will continue, noting that the recommendation to file charges against key officials of the agency is "just the beginning".

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after the Task Force PhilHealth recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against resigned PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales; Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Arnel De Jesus; Senior Vice Presidents Jovita Aragona, Renato Limsiaco Jr., and Israel Francis Pargas; officer-in-charge Calixto Gabuya Jr.; and Division Chief Bobby Crisostomo.

"Nakasaad din po sa report na magpapatuloy po ang imbestigasyon ng NBI at ng DOJ at magpapatuloy pa rin po ang mga imbestigasyon ng Ombudsman (It was also stated in the report that the investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice will continue, as well as the Ombudsman's)," Roque said in a press briefing. "Ito po ay pauna lamang given the very limited period of time na binigay po sa task force to come up with its recommendations (This is just the beginning given the very limited period of time that the task force has to come up with its recommendations).”

In its 177-page report and recommendation submitted to Duterte on Monday, the Task Force PhilHealth said the totality of the evidence presented before the task force supports the conclusion that wrongful acts or omission on the parts of certain key corporate officers of the PhilHealth have been committed.

The task force said the officers of the PhilHealth Executive Committee exhibited negligence and are administratively and criminally liable under Republic Act 1319 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law and Revised Penal Code.

It also recommended that the concerned PhilHealth corporate officers be held liable for certain violations of national internal revenue code “in connection to their failure to withhold taxes on IRM (Interim Reimbursement Mechanism) releases".

The task force also recommended that Duterte “strongly admonish and remind the chairman (Health Secretary Francisco Duque III) and members of the PhilHealth board of the grave consequence of their actions or inactions to PhilHealth fund, to the government and its coffers, and to the interest of the ordinary people who rely on PhilHealth”.

Roque, during the same briefing, agreed with the suggestion of Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy to impose travel restrictions on PhilHealth officials linked to the anomalies within the state insurer.

Herrera has urged the DOJ and Bureau of Immigration to immediately issue the legal authorization to secure the files and computers of PhilHealth to protect the integrity of evidence. (By Filane Mikee Cervantes)



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