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Senate ready to recommend charges vs PhilHealth execs involved in alleged corruption

The Senate is ready to recommend the filing of falsification, malversation and anti-graft charges against top officials of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) who are allegedly involved in corruption.

(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)nate-hall
(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, vice chair of the Senate committee of the whole, said that after holding three hearings on the issue, senators are now drafting the committee report, which they aim to release this week.

Lacson said the Senate is also coordinating closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ensure that the charges will be filed accordingly against the personalities involved in the anomalies in the state health insurance agency.

According to Lacson, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has already received all the necessary documents they need to pursue their investigation on PhilHealth.

“Pero sa parte ng Senado, magrerekomenda kami ng kung anong legislative action na dapat gawin, (But on the part of the Senate, we will recommend some legislative actions that can be done to stop corruption in PhilHealth),” Lacson said in an interview over GMANewsTV.

Apart from malversation of public funds, Lacson said the Senate panel discovered that the PhilHealth officials identified in the anomalies in the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) policy and the overpriced Information Technology (IT) program were also culpable for violating the National Internal Revenue Code and falsification of documents.

According to Lacson, among those they would recommend the filing of charges would be PhilHealth president Gen. Ricardo Morales, Renato Limsiaco, head of the fund management sector, Jovita Aragona and Calixto Gabuya who were responsible for the IT project.

“Kung matatandaan mo inamin ni Gen. Morales nang tanong ko sino nag-authorize, ng pag-approve at pag-release ng pera. Sabi niya ako, (If you remember, Gen. Morales admitted when asked who authorized and approved the release of money, he said he did),” Lacson said.

“Inamin niya sa pagdinig. Tapos maliwanag na maliwanag, si fund management sector SVP (senior vice president) Limsiaco siya talaga nag-maneuver ng lahat (He admitted as much. It’s also clear that SVP Limsiaco of the fund management sector was the one who maneuvered all these things),” he stressed.

Lacson assured there is enough evidence Aragona and Gabuya were directly involved in the overpricing of PhilHealth’s IT project.

The case can also qualify for plunder but Lacson said, they will leave it to the discretion to the DOJ-led task force to file the necessary complaint.

“Mas madali ipasok sa anti-graft pero wala namang magpe-prevent sa task force (It’s easier to file anti-graft charges but nothing prevents the task force to file plunder),” he said.

“Hindi naman kami magfa-file ng demanda kundi ang task force na created ni PRRD na pinangunahan ni SOJ (We’re not the one to file the charges but the task force created by President Duterte led by the Secretary of Justice),” he said.

Lacson said the DOJ Secretary himself wants to get to the bottom of all the issues and are eager to file the necessary charges against those culpable for the PhilHealth fund mess, when the latter talked to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

“The mere fact si Sec Guevarra napakaseryoso napakapursigido na kumuha ng records sa amin, ibig sabihin talagang may mapupuntahan ang investigation (he is serious in pursuing and collating records from us, this means that this investigation will have the desired result we all want to have),” the senator said.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/08/23/senate-ready-to-recommend-charges-vs-philhealth-execs-involved-in-alleged-corruption/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=senate-ready-to-recommend-charges-vs-philhealth-execs-involved-in-alleged-corruption)

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