“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.”
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]
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]
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.
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.
At the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole on the government’s response against COVID-19, Sen. Lacson relayed to the appropriate officials some questions from the public on the tests by PhilHealth and Philippine Red Cross. “We’re not finding fault here… Nang lumabas na 45% ng tests ang na-conduct ng Red Cross, maraming natuwa (kasi ang) impression na dumating sa kanila, libre. Mabuti at maliwanagan ang kababayan natin na may protocols na dapat sundin.”
For his part, PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales said they will publish guidelines to clarify the issue on who can qualify for free COVID-19 testing under PhilHealth, “so the public will be informed.”
Yet, Lacson noted PhilHealth is one of the top GOCCs in terms of subsidies from the government. “Pinakamalaking subsidized ng gobyerno and PhilHealth. And here we are, hearing so many anomalies, monies going to the pockets of a few. Hindi ba nakakagalit yan?”
In an interview on DZBB/GNTV, Sen. Lacson questioned the trip to Europe of at least one PhilHealth official following the PhilHealth board’s reversal of a decision of the Court of Appeals. Sen. Lacson also answered questions on:
– special audit needed for PhilHealth
– PhilHealth ‘mafia’
– conflict of interest involving DOH Sec Duque and kin
At the hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, Sen. Lacson questioned irregularities at the DOH and PhilHealth, including:
* conflict of interest
* toll manufacturing agreements entered into by Duque family-owned Doctors Pharmaceuticals Inc. and firms not accredited to deal with the DOH
* under-support payments
* collections for dead patients