On Hospitals’ Planned PhilHealth Holiday

What is wrong with PhilHealth? Everything. First, it should be headed by somebody who knows accounting and fund management, not a health practitioner, much less a former law enforcer or a retired general. Therefore, it should be chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Finance (DOF), not of the Department of Health (DOH). PhilHealth deals with health insurance, not health.

Second, the Senate inquiry on PhilHealth anomalies as a consequence of my “PhilWealth and the Department of Wealth” privilege speech in 2019 resulted in the filing of criminal and administrative chares against top PhilHealth officials after we transmitted to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra voluminous documents and other pieces of evidence that we gathered during the Senate Committee of the Whole hearings.

Yet, more than two years had passed, and those cases are still pending either in the Ombudsman or Sandiganbayan. As long as the wheels of justice grind at an irritatingly slow pace and the conviction and graft and corruption cases remains very low, we cannot expect corruption to abate, no matter how many Senate inquiries we conduct.

That said, the Senate can only do so much in the exercise of our legislative and oversight mandate. There is no saying here that we are powerless. I am only trying to say that we always do our part in this regard.