13 PhilHealth officials to face criminal raps: PACC

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2020 08:27 AM | Updated as of Aug 06 2020 08:34 AM

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MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-corruption commission said Thursday it has "airtight" cases against 13 of the 36 PhilHealth officials linked to fraud and might file criminal complaints against them next week before the Office of the Ombudsman.

The remaining officials may face administrative charges, according to Presidential Anti-Corruption Commissioner Greco Belgica.

The PACC has submitted its partial probe report to the Office of the President and is organizing an investigation team per region as it is "where the money flows," he added.

"Mafia is really an abused word. There's no one big mafia in PhilHealth but rather many groups in regions. It’s like territorial. If you remember the PDAF scam... it’s similar to this. In every region, someone has a territory because the system allows fraudulent claims to exist," he told ANC.

"The bulk of the transactions of PhilHealth happens in the regional level. If you remember, the entire board was fired by the President last August and yet corruption still persisted in PhilHealth...That’s really where the fraud is happening."

Belgica said the agency's national office also whitewashes complaints filed against regional officials.

"PhilHealth has not been able to file any case against any of the employees to the Ombudsman when they have cases filed against them. There are cases filed by the region and then whitewashed by the national office. That’s another way that corruption persists at PhilHealth," he said.

The state insurance agency has lost at least P154 billion due to overpayments, Belgica said, citing a Commission on Audit report in 2013. It is estimated to be losing monthly part of some P2 billion in payment claims to corruption, he added.

A Senate hearing on Tuesday revealed PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales approved the agency's questionable information technology budget and promoted officials already charged for alleged corrupt practices.