PhilHealth execs linked to fund mess may face raps next week – PACC
MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Anti-Corruption Council (PACC) is looking at filing formal complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman by next week against officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) allegedly involved in irregularities.
PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said that 36 PhilHealth officials were included in the commission’s initial report submitted to the Office of the President on the alleged corruption in the state insurance firm.
“Thirty-six I think can already be charged administratively, and 13 of the 36 can be charged criminally. Probably next week we will be filing the cases,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel on Thursday.
He answered in the affirmative when asked to clarify if the complaints will be filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.
According to Belgica, PACC’s findings against 13 of the 36 officials included in the report can be considered “airtight cases,” while the rest are involved in “new allegations and findings.”
He, however, said he is not yet allowed to identify the officials.
Belgica added that more names may be included in the commission’s report amid continued investigations against PhilHealth.
He said he believes “there is no one big mafia in PhilHealth but rather many groups in the regions,” describing the alleged mafia in the state health insurance firm as an “abused word.”
“It’s like territorial. If you remember the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scam where congressmen have their own territories and they manipulate funds there, it’s similar to this that in every region, someone has a territory. Because the system allows for fraudulent claims to exist, so the officials there in control of the funds and people are the ones in cahoots or connivance with the hospitals,” he explained.
“In that sense, there is a syndicate happening in every region through connivance,” he added.
The anti-corruption official likewise said the alleged corruption in the information technology system in PhilHealth is just “a small problem” compared to the P154 billion already lost since 2013 due to overpayments and fraud and the P2 billion “exposed to corruption every month.”
“That’s how much PhilHealth is spending for payment to hospitals monthly. It’s P2 billion. And with this system, we don’t know how much of this is fraudulent because they have no validation mechanism. It’s like paying a restaurant billing you and you are paying the restaurant without checking the bill,” said Belgica.
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