Tag: corruption

On PhilHealth’s New President and His First Marching Order

Removing all the regional vice presidents of PhilHealth may be easier ordered than implemented, considering that a number of them are protected by the civil service law. This is not to mention that it is unjust and unfair to those who are not involved in shenanigans in PhilHealth.

That said, I’ve known Dante Gierran enough to say that he is a good man. I hope and I mean it – that PhilHealth will not be Dante’s Inferno as he faces the challenges of his new mission.

As a former chief of the National Bureau of Investigation, he should have no trouble coordinating with the powerhouse task force led by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, his former boss, to implement much-needed reforms in PhilHealth.

I hope he will not fall victim to manipulation by parties inside and outside of the agency who have caused the state insurer to lose billions of pesos to corruption – not just for his sake, but for all Filipinos covered by PhilHealth.


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#PINGterview: PhilHealth Committee Report, 2021 Budget, ‘Designated Survivor’ Legislation

In an interview with Senate media, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* PhilHealth committee report
* questionable items in the 2021 budget
* ‘Designated Survivor’ legislation

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#PINGterview: Paano Maibabalik ang Ninakaw na Pondo ng PhilHealth?

In an interview on DZAR, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Speeding up of the IRR for the Anti-Terrorism Law
* How PhilHealth members can get back the money they lost to corruption

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#PINGterview: What’s Next for PhilHealth?

In an interview on DZXL, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* How Anti-Terror Law could have prevented Jolo blasts
* National debt
* Suggestions to strengthen PhilHealth

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Signs of Hope for PhilHealth

On the Resignation of PhilHealth SVP del Rosario:

Atty. del Rosario’s irrevocable resignation is one of many reasons to hope for some good things to come in view of the ongoing DOJ-led Task Force investigating the recent PhilHealth anomalies. The paying members and all taxpayers who contribute to the state health insurance fund surely deserve a break from the cyclical corruption involving its top executives.

DOJ Sec. Guevarra being on top of the situation, with full support being extended by the President, is something that we did not see in past investigations of PhilHealth anomalies.

We can only pray and hope that the renewed effort will be sustained all the way to its logical conclusion.

On PCEO Ricardo Morales:

I feel sorry for PCEO Morales, not for anything else but for his health condition. I hate to think that the stress brought about by the intense hearings of the Senate Committee of the Whole may have taken a toll on his already infirm health condition.

In spite of his possible complicity that could make him face some serious legal problems stemming from the report of the Senate Committee of the Whole, I still wish that he wins his bout against cancer and recovers.


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#PINGterview: Mga Pwede Kasuhan sa PhilHealth, Tukoy Na

In an interview on DZBB/GNTV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* charges that may be filed vs accountable PhilHealth execs
* who is the PhilHealth mafia
* remedial legislation
* cooperation of task force led by DOJ

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Lacson: Roof Leaks that Reportedly Destroyed Records in PhilHealth Region 1 Office May Not be from Natural Causes

Roof leak at PhilHealth’s Region 1 office. Images CTTO

The roof leaks that reportedly destroyed documents and records at the office of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) in Region 1 do not appear to be from natural causes, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Saturday.

Lacson, citing information reaching him, said the leaks occurred in selected areas of what was supposed to be a newly occupied building by PhilHealth, whose personnel moved in only last December.

“There were indications the roof leak was not due to natural causes. The information I got is that there was an inventory of documents when the leaks occurred, particularly at the IT and accounting departments,” he said in an interview on DWIZ.

He added the PACC personnel who were examining the records were surprised that the leak suddenly occurred. “A video of the incident shows the ceiling was new. How come there was a leak?” he noted.

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What Filipinos Deserve: A Corruption-Free PhilHealth, a Competent DOH Secretary

In 2004, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III was PhilHealth president when it illegally diverted P500 million in OWWA Medicare funds to buy PhilHealth cards bearing ex-President and then presidential candidate Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s picture with the acronym GMA (Greater Medical Access) and GMA Para sa Masa, Para sa Lahat. The cards were distributed to areas where they knew they would lose against the late Fernando Poe Jr.

After her 2004 “victory,” Mrs. Arroyo rewarded PhilHealth president Duque with an appointment as DOH Secretary.

Fast forward to 2020, where under new PCEO Ricardo Morales – and Duque as ex-officio chairman – PhilHealth tried to collect premiums from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), notwithstanding their classification as a special sector. This amid a flawed if not perverted implementation of its Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) for health care institutions handling COVID-19 cases, gross overpricing in its procurement of IT equipment, and the doctoring of its financial statements.

The President’s trust and confidence notwithstanding, Filipinos don’t deserve a state health insurance that is so corrupt, made possible by officials entrusted with mandatory monthly deductions from hard-earned salaries of ordinary employees.

As for Sec. Duque, he has stayed too long in the DOH and PhilHealth in different capacities. He admitted in a public hearing that he has given his best but it wasn’t good enough.

More than public interest, public health is imperiled with Sec. Duque at the helm of DOH. Notwithstanding the trust and confidence reposed on him by the appointing authority, Filipinos deserve a good, competent, honest and capable DOH Secretary.


May Maliligo sa Kaso! Senate Hearing on Corruption at PhilHealth

Sen. Lacson’s Opening Statement at the Senate Committee of the Whole Hearing on Corruption at PhilHealth:

Sa nakaraang dalawang araw na pagdinig ng komite ng buong Senado na ating isinagawa sa kasalukuyan, buong singkad na maghapon nang parehong araw ng Martes, pinaligiran po tayo ng mga sinungaling at mga manloloko. Sabi nga ng nanay ng kasama nating Senator Grace Poe – “Ang sinungaling ay kapatid ng magnanakaw!”

Let me prove what I just said, Mr. President and distinguished colleagues.

Only last week, I asked Fund Management Sector Senior Vice President Renato Limsiaco, Jr., why despite PhilHealth being a withholding tax agent of the BIR, he failed to deduct and withhold from the funds advanced to the private hospitals and other health care institutions the taxes due them under the National Internal Revenue Code.

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On B. Braun Avitum’s Claims on SEC Registration

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued a certification which I read during last week’s hearing that B. Braun Avitum Dialysis Center Inc is not registered as a corporation. Unless they show their documents to the contrary and validated by SEC, I will have to stand by the government agency’s issued document.

Having said that, I also read into the records of the Committee of the Whole the SEC registration of B. Braun Medical Supplies Inc.

Nevertheless, nothing can justify the release of funds in the aggregate amount of at least P45 million to B. Braun Avitum Dialysis Center Inc. that has not catered to a single COVID-19 patient and with such record speed, compared to more deserving HCIs, especially government hospitals catering to COVID patients which up to now have not received any payment in relation to PhilHealth Circular 2020-0007, which is its specific intent and purpose.