Senate review of PhilHealth pushed | Inquirer News
Questionable benefits to executives

Senate review of PhilHealth pushed

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:32 AM January 02, 2023

The Senate should “activate” its oversight committee on the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) after the Supreme Court recently declared illegal the distribution of P83 million in benefits to the state health insurer’s officials and personnel in 2014, Sen. JV Ejercito said on Sunday.

Ejercito, the principal author of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law, which made all Filipinos automatic members of PhilHealth, lamented that corruption and fraudulent schemes were still plaguing the state corporation despite a previous investigation by Congress.

He noted that some unscrupulous individuals were recently suspected of trying to hoodwink PhilHealth by claiming that patients who were hospitalized for noncoronavirus conditions were infected with COVID-19.


“We really need to guard against corruption and scams to make sure PhilHealth remains healthy,” Ejercito said in a radio interview.


“There should be an overhaul of the entire agency to stop these [modi] operandi because hundreds of millions of pesos, which should have been given to the beneficiaries, have been lost [to graft and corruption],” he said.

Last week, the high court made public a ruling it promulgated on Sept. 27, 2022, that rejected PhilHealth’s attempt to overturn the notice of disallowance that the Commission on Audit (COA) issued against the officials and employees of the state-run insurance firm.

The COA had ordered PhilHealth officials to return P83.06 million in educational assistance and birthday gift benefits that were given to them without legal basis.

Ejercito said the high tribunal’s ruling should prompt his colleagues to exercise their oversight power over the government office primarily tasked with implementing UHC.

It was also the right time for the Senate to revisit the law to check if it should be improved nearly four years after its passage in 2019, he added.

“We need to activate the oversight committee to make sure that the funds of PhilHealth will reach the intended beneficiaries, particularly the poorest of the poor and the noncontributory members,” Ejercito said.


“I think it’s about time,” he said, “to see if there are necessary adjustments that the oversight committee may recommend. The time is ripe to introduce amendments in the UHC.” INQ


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SC: P83-M PhilHealth execs’ benefits ‘illegal, irregular’

TAGS: Philhealth, Review, Senate

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