6 Philhealth officers file leaves of absence amid probe
This undated photo shows members lining up for PhilHealth benefits at an unnamed hospital.
The STAR/File
6 Philhealth officers file leaves of absence amid probe
(Philstar.com) - August 16, 2020 - 2:42pm

MANILA, Philippines — Six regional officers of the embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corp. have filed their leaves of absence amid probes into alleged anomalies involving billions of pesos, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed Sunday.

This comes after Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra urged officials to step down for the time being as the Senate, House, and separate task forces created by the National Bureau of Investigation and by the justice department investigate allegations including overpriced IT equipment, malversation of premiums and payments for fraudulent insurance claims.

The six were named in a GMA News Online report as vice presidents Paolo Johann Perez (Region IV-B), Datu Masiding Alonto Jr. (Region X), lawyers Valerie Anne Hollero (Region VI) and Khaliquzzman Macabato (BARMM), Dennis Adre, and William Chavez.

"These six officials, however, are not the 'mafia' referred to by Senator Panfilo Lacson. They were, in fact, referred to as 'heroes' by PhilHealth board member Alejandro Cabading during his Senate testimonies," Roque said.

"They chose to go on leave and heeded the call of Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra for those whose names are mentioned in the investigation to go on leave. We consider this as the right and proper thing to do," he also said. 

Malacañang also echoed Guevarra's call for officers under investigation, particularly members of executive committee who have been named in the investigations of both Senate and House, to go on leave.

Three of the state insurance firm's officials have already begged off from both the Senate and House hearings on alleged irregularities with all three citing different medical reasons for their physical and later online absence.

— Franco Luna with a report from The STAR/Alexis Romero 

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