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REACTING TO DE LIMA’S CALL FOR PROBE

Transactions with PhilHealth are legal, says Red Cross

/ 05:47 AM September 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — All transactions between the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) are legal and are not affected by irregularities the latter is facing, the PRC said in a statement on Monday.

PRC said there was no conflict of interest even though Sen. Richard Gordon, the PRC chair, was among the senators conducting the hearing on alleged anomlies in PhilHealth.

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This was the reaction to the dare of Sen. Leila de Lima for the Senate to also investigate the deals between the PRC and PhilHealth, especially after ex-PhilHealth officer-turned-witness Thorsson Montes Keith said Gordon might also be liable for the mess.

“On behalf of the Board of Governors of the [PRC], and our Chairman Sen. Richard J. Gordon, we would like to say: (i) all transactions of the PhilHealth and PRC are legal and covered by the Republic Act No. 11469, (ii) there is no conflict of interest in Sen. Gordon’s situation, and (iii) the disinformation being spread […] are totally baseless and merely meant to besmirch our reputation,” the PRC said.

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“All the transactions between the PRC and PhilHealth are legal and needed by the country,” the PRC added. “ It is ludicrous and a downright shame that Sen. De Lima is hitting Chairman Gordon and the PRC after they have done so much for the country.”

“With all the time she has in incarceration, she should have first studied the law. She would have then discovered that the transactions in the Memorandum of Agreement dated 05 May 2020 between the PRC and PhilHealth is exempted from Republic Act No. 9184, of the Government Procurement Reform Act,” the PRC went on.

Both the PRC and PhilHealth were alleged to have violated certain rules — the PRC charter and provisions in the Universal Healthcare Law — when PhilHealth made an advance payment of P100 million for coronavirus testing programs.

Under the law, no portion of the national budget should be allocated for still unidentified programs.

De Lima made her call for an  investigation of the deals in a handwritten message from her detention cell in Camp Crame.

PhilHealth has been beset with allegations of widespread corruption, with Ketih revealing that the state-owned insurer approved the purchase of grossly overpriced information technology items, adding that a “mafia” within PhilHealth had already pocketed P15 billion worth of funds.

“The allegations, prima facie, are serious enough to warrant a separate full-blown investigation on the precise nature of the transaction between PRC and PhilHealth,” De Lima said. “The badges of irregularities are undeniable.”

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TAGS: Leila de Lima, Philippine Red Cross, PRC deals, PRC-PhilHealth deals, Richard Gordon
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