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DOJ to tap PACC data on PhilHealth

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) will make use of and build up on the findings of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), which had claimed that Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) has already lost more than P153 billion since 2013.

But Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, head of the interagency Task Force PhilHealth created to investigate anomalies in the state insurer, said they might only be able to make recommendations on some of the irregularities that the PACC found to have been going on for several years now.

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“The task force will make use of what the PACC has already done or build up on it further as may be necessary,” he said on Sunday, referring to the report the PACC submitted to President Duterte last week.

“[But] given the limited period to submit a report with recommendations for legal action, we shall give preferential attention to the investigation of alleged irregularities that could reasonably be completed within the given time frame,” Guevarra said.

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“There are investigations and special audits [that were] already going on prior to the creation of Task Force PhilHealth and even before the COVID outbreak,” he said.

“I will request the rest of the task force members to identify these ongoing investigations that may actually be expedited and completed within the period. I hope the WellMed ghost dialysis claims case is one of them,” he added.

Padded claims

The justice secretary was referring to the criminal charges filed against the owner and employees of Wellmed Dialysis and Wellness Center in Quezon City for estafa and falsification of official documents for allegedly padding their PhilHealth claims.

Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento said the pretrial of the estafa and falsification of official documents charges was conducted before the lockdown, but prosecutors have yet to receive a court notice on when they can start to present evidence.

In ordering the creation of the group, Mr. Duterte gave Task force PhilHealth 30 days to submit a report on the alleged PhilHealth anomalies and Guevarra said he would convene the task force next week to discuss strategies, especially since the Senate would also resume its investigation on Aug. 11.

The Senate started its probe with a marathon hearing last week where former PhilHealth officials claimed that the state insurer had already lost around P15 billion in questionable transactions.

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TAGS: DoJ, Menardo Guevarra, PACC, PhilHealth anomalies, PhilHealth probe
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