PhilHealth went broke with Duque’s ‘Plan 5M’ for Arroyo ahead of 2004 elections – exec
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) started incurring losses in 2004 due to the non-payment of premiums after then CEO Health Secretary Francisco Duque III launched the distribution of 5 million insurance cards, which bore the picture of then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, ahead of the elections then, an official said Tuesday.
“Yun po ang unang dahilan ng pagkalugi ng PhilHealth (That’s the reason PhilHealth went bankrupt),” Dennis Adre, Regional Vice President in Davao City, said during the resumption of the Senate’s investigation into fresh allegations of corruption within PhilHealth.
According to Adre, Duque launched “Plan 5M” before the presidential elections in 2004.
He said Duque had ordered regional vice presidents to distribute a total of five million free PhilHealth cards, which corresponded to the 5-million lead votes of the then-presidential candidate and highly popular late actor Fernando Poe Jr. in the 2004 pre-election survey.
“Noon pong may survey na the late FPJ ay nangunguna ng five million votes sa survey, kaya po 5 million din ang cards na ipinamigay ng Philhealth na libre,” Adre told Senator Grace Poe, who asked him about the “Plan 5M.” Poe is the daughter of the late actor.
(During that time, there’s a survey showing FPJ was leading five million and that’s why five million cards were produced and distributed free by PhilHealth.)
“These free PhilHealth cards were to be distributed then to the perceived political allies nationwide during the election period to offset the 5 million lead of the late FPJ in the surveys,” Adre said in a separate position paper submitted to the Senate.
Adre also recalled that Duque specifically instructed that no PhilHealth cards be allocated to then Davao City Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Sa maalala ko po, kaya kami nagkaroon ng konting hidwain ay dahil nilinaw ko po kung bakit si Dating Mayor Duterte ay hindi niya (Duque) pinabibigyan ng PhilHealth cards,” he said.
Adre further claimed that the “window-dressing” of PhilHealth’s financial statements started after the “Plan 5M” was launched.
“That was the first time that the financial statements of PhilHealth had been window-dressed,” he said.
He also claimed that in one of the recent meetings in Malacañang, even former PhilHealth Senior Vice President for Finance Greg Rulloda said that “financial statements had indeed been window-dressed in the past several years.”
“But it started during 2004 because they had to make up for the losses that were incurred for non-payment of premiums during the ‘Plan 5M’,” Adre added.
Poe slammed the “Plan 5M,” saying it was akin to buying votes.
Responding to Adre’s allegations, Duque said the “Plan 5M” was not connected with the 2004 elections.
“The five million is not [connected] with the allegation of Mr. Dennis Adre. There’s no correlation between the PhilHealth program and the elections,” Duque said.
Duque has previously pointed out that the case against him for alleged misuse of funds for the distribution of the PhilHealth cards has long been dismissed and resolved after the Supreme Court (SC) ruled with finality in 2013.
The health chief further expressed hopes that these issues would die down as the courts have already decided on the case.
“It is my sincere hope that information like this that may damage one’s reputation is verified first before being narrated to the public to avoid confusion. It is also my sincere hope that this puts the issue to rest,” he had said.
“I have been in public service for more than two decades and I have never been convicted of any wrongdoing, simply because I hold integrity as my core principle,” he added. [ac]
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