PhilHealth execs sued for ânon-remittanceâ of P16.58 million OFW contributions
In a 19-page complaint affidavit, Roque, together with whistle-blower Ken Sarmiento, urged the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate PhilHealth senior vice president Dennis Mas, vice president for Member Management Group Narisa Sugay, vice president for National Capital Region Gilda Salvacion Diaz and former chief operating officer Ruben John Basa.
STAR/File
PhilHealth execs sued for ‘non-remittance’ of P16.58 million OFW contributions
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - February 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Former presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. yesterday filed criminal and administrative complaints against four ranking officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) over the alleged non-remittance of around P16.584 million in premium contributions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

In a 19-page complaint affidavit, Roque, together with whistle-blower Ken Sarmiento, urged the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate PhilHealth senior vice president Dennis Mas, vice president for Member Management Group Narisa Sugay, vice president for National Capital Region Gilda Salvacion Diaz and former chief operating officer Ruben John Basa.

Roque and Sarmiento said the four PhilHealth officials must be investigated for criminal offenses in violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and dereliction of duty under Article 208 of the Revised Penal Code, as well as administrative offenses of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Sarmiento was former head of the PhilHealth Operations Office at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Office of Filipino Professionals (OFP), which administers the National Health Insurance Program for OFWs and their dependents.

Sarmiento recounted that from 2014 to 2018, his office discovered 224 questionable PhilHealth official receipts (PORs) issued by the liaison officers of several recruitment agencies transacting with the POEA. 

“The POEA-OFP Operations Office subjected the PORs to system verification procedures by comparing the transaction details declared on the PORs and the transactions details as recorded in PhilHealth’s systems and databases. All 224 PORs failed the verification procedures,” the complaint read.

Roque said this clearly shows that the premium contributions of the OFW members, amounting to P16.584 million, were not remitted to PhilHealth.

He lamented that the four PhilHealth officials did not even order any fact-finding investigation after being informed by Sarmiento’s office of the supposed anomaly. 

Sarmiento said he also filed 15 complaint-affidavits before the Anti-Fraud Division of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in connection with the falsified PORs, but the complaints remain pending as the investigation is allegedly being “systematically suppressed” by the high-ranking officials of PhilHealth.

Sarmiento said that after he informed PhilHealth management of the result of his investigation, he was demoted and then forced to resign in 2018.

On top of the 224 PORs, which underwent verification, Roque and Sarmiento said there were an additional 868 PORs which appear to be questionable as they do not appear in PhilHealth’s database.

Roque and Sarmiento estimated the total unremitted contributions of the OFW PhilHealth members at around P50 million to P100 million.

PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales said he still trusts the PhilHealth officials facing graft charges before the ombudsman over the “fake” premium receipts scam.

“Our policy is evidence-based, so if there’s evidence that they cannot be trusted, they will not remain in position. So yes, they still have my trust. They’re still here,” Morales said yesterday at a media forum for the 25th anniversary of PhilHealth.

Morales’ remarks came right after Sarmiento filed the graft complaint.  – With Neil Jayson Servallos

PHILHEALTH
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with