Senate to recommend filing raps vs Morales, other PhilHealth officials — Lacson
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate will recommend the filing of complaints against some officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) including its president and CEO Ricardo Morales.
“Yes,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said in a text message to INQUIRER.net on Sunday when asked if the Senate will recommend the filing of complaints against some PhilHealth officials including its CEO, after the Senate Committee of the Whole decided to end the hearings on alleged anomalies in the state insurer.
“He (Morales) and the other accountable officers will have to face several counts of malversation of public funds, as I understand it,” Lacson also said.
The senator noted that during the hearings, Morales admitted under oath that he approved the release of funds under PhilHealth’s Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) to healthcare institutions which the former explained were unauthorized to receive the payments.
“The records of the Senate COW (Committee of the Whole) proceedings show that he admitted under oath to have approved the release of advance payments to unauthorized healthcare institutions like dialysis centers, maternity care providers and the like that had nothing to do with COVID-19, much less a ‘fortuitous event’ as required under the IRM Circular 2020-0007, which he signed on March 20, or 11 days before the board resolution ratifying authorization of the said Circular,” said Lacson.
The senator noted that this was “further compounded” by the fact that the date of effectivity under Article VIII of the said circular was June 11, 2020.
He added that official records of PhilHealth have established that more than P14 billion were already disbursed to healthcare institutions as of June 9.
“That easily makes the advance payments a ‘triple-whammy’ violation of the Revised Penal Code for malversation of public funds under Art 217, Chapter 4 of the said penal code,” the senator said.
In an interview with dzBB, Lacson also said that among PhilHealth officials who may face complaints aside from Morales are Fund Management Sector senior vice president Renato Limsiaco Jr., senior vice president and chief information officer Jovita Aragona, and senior ICT officer Calixto Gabuya Jr.
Aside from malversation of public funds, concerned PhilHealth officials may also face complaints for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the National Internal Revenue Code, according to Lacson.
However, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, chairman of the Committee of the Whole, refused to confirm this information.
He said it is better to wait for the report of the committee.
“Right now, it is mere speculation until we are able to weigh all information acquired in the hearings,” said Sotto.
PhilHealth has consistently denied allegations of anomalies hounding the agency.
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