Recto wants more state auditors to look into PhilHealth spending

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 13 2020 12:21 PM

MANILA - Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Wednesday urged the government to deploy more state auditors to review the liquidations of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) after the insurance agency was linked to another anomaly.

The Commission on Audit earlier said that only 16 auditors are assigned to PhilHealth, which has been linked to various alleged anomalies like the ghost dialysis scandal, the procurement of overpriced equipment, and the disbursement of COVID-19 funds to dialysis center and maternity wards that were not catering to coronavirus patients.

"Auditors are like smoke detectors. PhilHealth is like a big building with hundreds of rooms, but only 16 are equipped with it," Recto said in a statement.

"If an agency spends more than P140 billion a year in batches of 35,000 claims a day from 8,500 hospitals and clinics, then you must have auditors more than what you can fit in a van," he said.

The COA should recruit more auditors not just for PhilHealth but for other government agencies as well, the senator said, noting that the commission still lacks 516 certified public accountants.

"The problem could be in the recruitment. Siguro, dapat na silang magkaroon ng job fair (maybe they need to have a job fair), in the aggressive way that BPOs hire talents," he said.

Having sufficient auditors who are capable of conducting fraud and performance audits "is one of the many anti-corruption vaccines that the PhilHealth would need," Recto said.

"'Yan ang kailangan sa loob ng PhilHealth: circuit-breakers ng mga irregularities. Dapat wired 'yan sa sistema," he said.

(That is what's needed inside PhilHealth: circuit-breakers of irregularities. That needs to be wired into the system.)