PhilHealth execs face raps over alleged non-remittance of OFW contributions

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2020 03:31 PM

MANILA - Former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) over the alleged non-remittance of an estimated P50 to 100 million worth of contribution from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Named respondents are PhilHealth Senior Vice President Dennis Mas, Executive Vice President Ruben John Basa, Vice President for Member Management Group Narisa Sugay, and Vice President for National Capital Region Gilda Salvacion Diaz.

The officials are accused of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, dereliction of duty, grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, grave abuse of discretion, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

PhilHealth is a government corporation attached to the Department of Health.

Roque filed the complaint together with former PhilHealth official Ken Sarmiento, who was the head of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Operations Office of PhilHealth tasked to administer the National Health Insurance Program for OFWs and their dependents.

Sarmiento claimed that from 2015 to 2018, his office discovered 224 questionable PhilHealth official receipts issued by liaison officers of several hiring agencies transacting at the POEA Blas Ople Building.

“From the foregoing, it is clear that the respondents acted with gross inexcusable negligence when they failed to act and respond to the anomalous transactions,” complainants Roque and Sarmiento said in the complaint.

Sarmiento said that after his investigation, he was eased out of his office until he was forced to resign in 2018.

“Hindi naman kaya ng konsensya ko na parang walang nangyayari,” Sarmiento said after the filing of the complaint.

(My conscience won't allow me to turn a blind eye of what's happening.)

Roque said the Ombudsman should place the accused officials under preventive suspension while the investigation is ongoing.

“Whether or not we have evidence for conspiracy, puwede pa rin silang managot for both anti-graft and dereliction of duty (They are still answerable for both anti-graft and dereliction of duty),” Roque said.