Garin on diversion issue: P10.6-B PhilHealth fund is non-existent
Former Health Secretary Janette Garin on Thursday said the alleged diversion of P10.69-billion fund from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to the Department of Health (DOH) was a “huge lie” because the fund was “non-existent” in the first place.
Garin addressed the issue of alleged diversion of P10.69 billion meant for senior citizens to the construction of rural health clinics in 2015 after PhilHealth had lodged graft complaints against her and former PhilHealth president Alexander Padilla.
“Unang-una po hindi po totoo na dinivert po yung P10.6 billion galing PhilHealth papuntang DOH kasi wala naman po talagang P10.6 billion na napunta sa PhilHealth,” she said at the Serye media forum.
(First of all, it is not true that the P10.6 billion from PhilHealth was diverted to the DOH because there is no such thing as P10.6 billion that went to PhilHealth.)
The former Health chief said the P10.69 billion was exclusively for PhilHealth and can only be used for DOH only if there’s excess tax collection, which she said did not happen.
“Wala talaga ang P10.6. Nandoon sya sa budget not exclusively for PhilHealth. Pwedeng gamitin for DOH sa kondisyon na may excess tax collection. Kung walang excess tax collection, walang pondo ang un-programmed funds,”
(There is really no P10.6. It is there in the budget not exclusively for PhilHealth. It can be utilized for DOH on condition that there is excess tax collection. If there is no excess tax collection, there is no fund for un-programmed funds.)
Garin lamented how the issue is being used as a “platform for those who have ambitions to be appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte.”
“Nakakalungkot po na dahil merong iba na nag-aabisyon na ma-appoint ni Duterte eh ginagamit yung PhilHealth at senior citizens para sa sarili nilang ambisyon. Nakakalungkot din na ang PhilHealth hindi umaaamin sa katotohanan,” she added.
(It is said that there are people who have an ambition to be appointed by Duterte and using PhilHealth and senior citizens for their own ambition. It is also sad that PhilHealth is not admitting to the truth.)
Garin also dared her critics to refrain from “making stories” and “blaming their mistakes to her and the Aquino administration.”
“‘Yung gumagawa gawa kwento, itigil na nila, pati yung pagbintang ng lahat ng kapalpakan sa akin at sa nakaraang admin,” she said.
(Those who are making up stories, they should stop it, and their accusations of misdeeds they are putting the blame on us and to the previous administration.)
“Wala pong violation dito [There is no violation here]. Insofar as the cases are concerned, bring it on,” she stressed.
According to the complaint filed in the Office of the Ombudsman last March 27, PhilHealth said the reallocation of the amount, requested through a joint letter signed by Garin and Padilla, was “not sanctioned or approved” by its board of directors.
But Garin said the issue was discussed with the Board.
“Pinag-uusapan po ‘yung mga utang na ‘yun na inaallege kaya nagtataka ako bakit na amnesia si Tony Leachon na appointee ni Pangulong Aquino,” she said.
(We are discussing those alleged debts, that’s why I’m wondering why Tony Leachon, an appointee of President Aquino, is having amnesia.)
She did not deny the existence of the letter but she said there were other correspondence prior to that. Garin and Padilla signed the letter dated August 5, 2015, requesting the release of the P10.69 billion unprogrammed funds from the 2015 General Appropriations Act for the 2015 Health Facilities Enhancement Program.
“Prior to that, may mga sulat kaming sinisingil ang DBM dahil akala namin totoong may utang ang DBM (we wrote a letter asking for the funds from DBM because we thought it was true that they owed money),” she said.
“Pero again, at the end of the day, hindi ito pinondohan kasi standby ‘yung unprogrammed fund pagka merong excess tax collection. So kung wala, walang pondo,” she added.
(At the end of the day, it was not funded because the unprogrammed fund was on standby if there was excess tax collection. So if there’s none, then there’s no fund.)
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Wednesday showed the letter as an evidence to the alleged diversion.
He said the problem was that Garin wrote the letter without consulting the PhilHealth board.
“Ang problema lang dito kasi is bakit sumulat ng hindi nagpaalam sa PhilHealth board? At bakit walang actuarial certification to show that the P10.6 billion may be waived?” Duque asked.
(The problem here is why did they write without asking permission from the PhilHealth board? And why was there no actuarial certification to show that the P10.6 billion may be waived?)
“But I’m sure kung nagkaroon ng actuarial certification ‘yan, sasabihin, it must not be waived, kasi kailangan niyan for the long-term sustainability of the (PhilHealth) system,” he added. /jpv, je
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