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Ex-PhilHealth officer: Regional Office II wrongly credited P9M to Bataan rural bank

/ 01:56 PM August 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) Regional Office II has wrongly credited some P9.705 million to a rural bank in Central Luzon, its former anti-fraud legal officer said Tuesday.

Atty. Thorrsson Montes Keith said personnel of the PhilHealth Regional Office II claimed they had “inadvertently” credited the amount to Balanga Rural Bank in Bataan.

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“Region 2 personnel credited P9.705 million to Balanga Rural Bank located in Bataan, Region III without any valid reason,” he said in a Senate hearing on alleged irregularities at PhilHealth.

“The big question is how did this happen?” said Keith. “There is no way PRO2 (PhilHealth Regional Office II) can pay banks situated in Region 3.”

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Keith, however, said that the involved personnel has had years of experience and technical expertise in their positions and thus, there should not have been any room for that kind of mistake.

“I discovered that there were multiple transactions of payments of reimbursements of PhilHealth benefit claims for 12 consecutive periods for the month of May 2019 between May 2 to 22. This is not merely inadvertent as the multiple transactions connotes deliberate intent to defraud the government by embezzling P9,705,332,” he also said.

According to Keith, the Balanga Rural Bank had “persistently refused” to return the amount but later did so after receiving a demand letter from PhilHealth.

Keith said he heard rumors that an official of the agency has a mistress in Balanga, Bataan, but said he was not able to confirm this because of lack of time. Aside from this, he said that another official had also frequently traveled to the area.

“The question that should be answered to shed light to this investigation is: who owns the account in Balanga Rural Bank and what is the account number?” said Keith.

“The only thing to do is to determine the real owner of the bank account in Balanga, Bataan and it will open a Pandora’s box,” he added.

Keith earlier alleged that PhilHealth officials pocketed some P15 billion through fraudulent schemes in the state insurance firm, an allegation that PhilHealth had denied.

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TAGS:  Atty. Thorrsson Montes Keith,  Balanga Rural Bank, Bataan, corruption, Philhealth
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