Guevarra: We’ll submit suggestions, possible cases vs PhilHealth execs by Sept. 14
MANILA, Philippines — The task force handling investigation of corruption allegations within the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will submit its recommendations to President Rodrigo Duterte on September 14, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.
According to Guevarra, who heads Task Force PhilHealth, this would include possible cases against PhilHealth officials allegedly involved in the corruption scandal mess that broke out last July.
Hearings conducted by the task force ended on Monday, the Secretary said.
“All our hearings would be concluded today, this evening, and since that particular resource person or witness is our last one, then starting tonight and the rest of the week we will be consolidating and analyzing all the information and evidence that we have gathered through seven hearings conducted by the task force,” Guevarra told Duterte during the latter’s address to the public on Monday.
“So by September 14, Mr. President, that’s on Monday, we should be able to submit to you our report and our recommendations, including the possible filing of administrative and/ or criminal cases against persons in PhilHealth who we shall find to be probably responsible for certain anomalies,” he added.
But Guevarra also admitted that some other cases may be filed even after they have given their recommendations to Duterte, as actual case build-up differs from, and would take up a lot of time compared to merely observing hearings of the task force.
He said that what the task force has been doing currently was to conduct hearings, which is just an overview of the issues hounding PhilHealth.
“Meantime, Mr. President, the various composite teams that the task force created, composed of representatives from the NBI, the AMLC, the PACC, and some other agencies which form part of the task force will continue with building up the cases,” Guevarra said.
“Because what we did during our hearings was basically to get a bird’s eye view, an overview of the problems at PhilHealth, but the matter of building up actual cases may require more time because we’ve got to gather the actual evidence, procure the necessary witnesses to support the complaints, so we’re hoping that we’ll be able to file a few of these cases before we submit our report to you or maybe even after,” he explained.
After the resignation of PhilHealth’s former anti-fraud officer Thorrsson Montes Keith, due to widespread corruption within the agency, Congress looked into the matter and launched its own probe.
Various other corruption issues were revealed during the hearings of the Senate and the House of Representatives, from Keith’s claim that a “mafia” within PhilHealth had already pocketed more than P15 billion in funds, to overpriced information technology products, to releasing COVID-19 funds to healthcare institutions not handing coronavirus-infected patients. [ac]
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