‘Tapos na ang maliligayang araw niyo,’ Roque tells ‘buwayas’ in PhilHealth
MANILA, Philippines — Good riddance.
This was how presidential spokesperson Harry Roque summed up the message behind President Duterte’s creation of a high-level task force to probe alleged corruption within the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
Calling the erring officials a certain type of reptile, Roque said the creation of the task force should end the so-called era of corruption within the state health insurer.
“Ang mensahe po sa mga buwaya ng PhilHealth: Tapos na po ang maliligayang araw niyo diyan. Good bye!” he said.
According to Roque, the probe, which will be headed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), is “not an ordinary investigation” as the task force will have the power to conduct lifestyle checks on PhilHealth officials and issue preventive suspensions, unlike Congress which is currently conducting its own inquiry on the issue.
Aside from the DOJ, the task force will be composed of the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the Special Assistant to the President as well as the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.
Among allegations of corruption raised during a recent Senate hearing involved the procurement of alleged overpriced IT equipment; a supposedly questionable release of funds under the corporation’s Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM); and the alleged manipulation of the corporation’s financial status.
The Palace official added that he thinks the President is now “exasperated” over the reports of corruption in PhilHealth, prompting him to create the task force.
“Tingin ko as a lawyer, si Presidente exasperated, gusto na niyang matigil talaga itong korapsyon sa PhilHealth at gusto na niya na talagang may ngipin nga itong task force na binuo niya,” Roque said.
The task force is required to submit to Duterte its findings and proposed legal actions against erring PhilHealth officials within 30 days.
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