Guevarra: Lawmakers can also file complaints vs PhilHealth officers
The National Bureau of Investigation, with endorsement of the Department of Justice, filed criminal complaints against PhilHealth officers on Friday, October 2, before the Office of the Ombudsman.
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Guevarra: Lawmakers can also file complaints vs PhilHealth officers

(Philstar.com) - October 5, 2020 - 11:29am

MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers can file their own complaints against officers of the Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) Corp., but Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra assured the public that the Department of Justice-led task force investigating the state insurer will be filing more raps soon.

“Nothing prevents the Senate or the House [of Representatives] from initiating their own complaints against erring PhilHealth officials. Both the executive and legislative branches, representing their interest of the people, are duty-bound to rid any government agency or entity of corruption and wrongdoing,” Guevarra told reporters on Monday.

Guevarra stressed that Task Force’s PhilHealth’s work has only just begun. “As we continue to probe more deeply into the fraud centers in the state health insurer and build up cases, more names may be included and more complaints will be filed in the coming days,” he added.

On Sunday, Sen. Panfilo Lacson hinted in a radio interview that Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and former PhilHealth Senior Vice President for Legal Rodolfo del Rosario may soon face raps.

Lacson said Senate President Vicente Sotto III told him there is evidence pointing to Duque, but added it would be better to wait for Task Force PhilHealth’s recommendation on the filing of more criminal raps against PhilHealth officials.

In April, 14 senators including Lacson and Sotto, called for Duque’s resignation over the government’s COVID-19 response.

Duque: I have nothing to do with IRM

The National Bureau of Investigation, a member of TF PhilHealth, on Friday filed criminal complaints against nine people, including former PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales, over the state insurer’s implementation of the Interim Reimbursement Program.

The IRM is a mechanism under the National Health Insurance Program that grants financial aid to healthcare provides affected by calamities.

READ: Cheat sheet on Task Force PhilHealth's fact-finding probe, complaints to be filed

The DOH secretary, in an interview with CNN Philippines’ "The Source" on Monday, said this is “a very correct assessment or evaluation by the investigating bodies.”

 “With the clearest of conscience, I have nothing to do with the resolution approving the implementation of IRM,” he added.

Duque, by virtue of his position, sits as chairman of the PhilHealth Board. He was not among the list of the respondents in the NBI complaint filed last week. When the task force filed its report to President Rodrigo Duterte, they only recommended that he admonish Duque and other members of the board.

The health chief also said he has his hands full with his duties as chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force of the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases. He added that he was not able to attend any PhilHealth board meeting for almost four months, and he had to delegate his chairmanship to the state insurer’s president and CEO.

Duque asserted that there is no basis of the allegations against him, but added that he is willing to cooperate in investigations.

TF PhilHealth’s composite teams are conducting deeper probes into the state insurer. Among their focus investigations are on the agencies’ legal and IT sectors. — Kristine Joy Patag

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FRANCISCO DUQUE III MENARDO GUEVARRA OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN PHILHEALTH
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