Tag: Anti-corruption

On Corruption at PhilHealth: Mafia Back with a Vengeance

We have witnesses who are willing to testify and detail the pervasive and deep-rooted corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

At the outset, I can say that this new Senate investigation will reveal the same cast of characters, or at least a number of them, that we already exposed in a Senate inquiry in August last year after my β€œPhilHealth and the Department of Wealth” privilege speech on July 29, 2019.

I would say, the syndicate is back with a vengeance – or at least its core group has never left.

It is revolting to see the PhilHealth mafia very much active and still in control of the already depleted resources of the agency, made worse by blatant manipulation of its financial statements. They must have mastered the art of influence-peddling as they seem to continue to gain access to the β€œcorridors of power.”

*****

Read: Senate Resolution 479, Urging COA to Conduct a Special Audit of COVID-Related Spending before Congress Deliberates on 2021 Budget

Various procurements made in relation to COVID-19 have been marred by allegations of overpricing … Congress is set to deliberate on the 2021 budget, and anticipating that massive allocations will need to be made to address the health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19, it is of critical importance that there be audit findings to guide legislators in their exercise of the power of the purse.” (co-author with Senators Hontiveros, Drilon, Pangilinan, de Lima, Recto)

PingBills | Senate Resolution 475, Calling for the Constitution of the Senate Committee of the Whole to Investigate Alleged Corruption in PhilHealth Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

“These rampant and pervasive allegations of corruption, incompetence and inefficiency have systematically impaired the management of PhilHealth to the detriment of this public institution and its members, without any remedial measures to improve competency and exact accountability, thereby endangering PhilHealth’s existence, necessitating the Senate’s intervention to prevent the corporation’s financial collapse.”

#PINGterview: 3 Strikes sa PhilHealth; Wala Nang Mapuntahan Kundi Mag-Resign?

In an interview on DZBB and GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Senate efforts to address COVID-19 situation [01:48]
* 3 issues hounding PhilHealth that the Senate probe will focus on [04:33]

QUOTES and NOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: 3 Strikes sa PhilHealth; Wala Nang Mapuntahan Kundi Mag-Resign?”

#PINGterview: Dapat May Makulong na sa Katiwalian sa PhilHealth!

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Expectations at President Duterte’s SONA [00:11]
* Latest corruption and mismanagement at PhilHealth [07:20]
* Claims that IATF is a failure in dealing with COVID-19 [37:04]

QUOTES and NOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: Dapat May Makulong na sa Katiwalian sa PhilHealth!”

Bigger and Badder: How PhilHealth Corruption Thrives Amid COVID-19

Corruption in PhilHealth seems to have become the rule rather than the exception. And the threat posed by COVID-19 seems to have emboldened rather than deterred it.

Just to cite an example: The newly instituted Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM), purportedly to support the national government’s response to the COVID-19 threat, gives PhilHealth the authority to provide special privilege in the form of substantial aid to “eligible” Health Care Institutions (HCIs).

This new malevolent scheme led to the release of hundreds of millions of pesos in record time – in one or two weeks – to a few unaccredited hospitals that register only one COVID-19 patient.

That, and other mind-blowing controversies will be the focus of the Senate inquiry in the coming days when Congress starts its Second Regular Session.

The resolution that we are filing on Monday and the ensuing Committee of the Whole inquiry will show you how even the COVID-19 crisis has created more opportunities for systemic corruption in PhilHealth to flourish.

As long as the responsible officials are not made accountable for their misdeeds, PhilHealth will continue to bleed dry, thus running the risk of becoming bankrupt sooner than we think.

*****

On the Reported Shouting Match over Corruption at PhilHealth

Unabated corruption and mismanagement of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) funds has been a topic of discussion among Senate President Sotto and me, along with some senators from the majority bloc, for quite some time now.

But the reported shouting match in a recent virtual conference between the PhilHealth president and some board members involving almost P1 billion worth of questionable transactions, including a total overprice of P98 million – if true, says it all.

I am now drafting a resolution calling for a Senate Committee of the Whole inquiry. As expressed by SP Sotto to me last night, this inquiry will be one of the Senate’s top agenda after our session resumes on Monday.

That such corruption occurred amid the COVID-19 crisis makes it more disgusting and abominable. Nakakasuya na sobra. Needless to say, there is urgency that the Senate has to act on the matter immediately, as part of its oversight mandate, having passed the Universal Health Law.

When the Senate investigated issues surrounding PhilHealth and the Department of Health – including instances of conflict of interest involving the family of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III with the family-owned Doctors Pharmaceuticals Inc. having contracts with the Department of Health, and the PhilHealth regional office renting a Duque-owned building; and with the Secretary’s pattern of failure prompting 14 of us in the Senate to file a resolution seeking his resignation – we had high hopes the shenanigans at PhilHealth would end with a new leadership. Sad to say, how wrong we were.

*****

QUOTES from DZBB/GNTV INTERVIEW:
Continue reading “On the Reported Shouting Match over Corruption at PhilHealth”

#PINGterview: ECQ Extension, Supplemental Budget vs COVID-19 Needed?

In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* possible supplemental budget to deal with COVID-19 [0:26]
* at least P989B unused from 2019 budget [2:40]
* local officials naipit sa Social Amelioration Program [17:39]
* DBM circular barring release of 35% of 2020 budget’s appropriations [19:45]
* lockdown until June? [24:17]

NOTES and QUOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: ECQ Extension, Supplemental Budget vs COVID-19 Needed?”

#PINGterview: Pagbigay ng Ayuda sa COVID19-Affected Areas, Dapat Ibigay Agad at Bantayin!

In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson stressed at least P200B in assistance to poor families affected by the COVID19-triggered quarantines should be distributed soonest, with scrutiny from the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee.

NOTES and QUOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: Pagbigay ng Ayuda sa COVID19-Affected Areas, Dapat Ibigay Agad at Bantayin!”

#PINGterview: Daily Wage Earners, Priority sa Tulong; Kukupit ng Tulong, Walang Karapatang Mabuhay!

In an interview on DZBB/GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson stressed the need for lawmakers to prioritize help for daily wage earners amid the COVID19-triggered lockdowns, while preventing corruption in the implementation of aid for those affected.

NOTES and QUOTES:
Continue reading “#PINGterview: Daily Wage Earners, Priority sa Tulong; Kukupit ng Tulong, Walang Karapatang Mabuhay!”