PhilHealth query should be Senate’s priority – Drilon

Published July 24, 2020, 12:04 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon on Friday called for an immediate investigation on the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. or PhilHealth following reports three of its officials resigned after expressing their frustration at the corruption within the state insurance firm.

Senator Franklin Drilon (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

With P221-billion of public funds at stake, Drilon said the allegations of widespread corruption within the health insurance agency cannot be swept under the rug by the Duterte administration.

As of April 2020, PhilHealth has a total asset of P221-billion, the minority leader noted. The senator added the health insurance agency also receives a government subsidy of around P71-billion.

“The Senate should prioritize the investigation when it resumes session next week,” Drilon said in a statement.

“Whatever their issues in PhilHealth are, we must protect the funds of PhilHealth to the tune of P221-billion both from corruption and disarray in the agency,” the lawmaker added.

The Senate minority chief issued the statement following published reports that at least three executives of PhilHealth have supposedly resigned due to the widespread corruption issues within the agency, including the agency’s Anti-Fraud Legal Officer Thorrsson Montes Keith.

Drilon said he was no longer surprised by the allegations given the past history of PhilHealth, citing the issues of “ghost dialysis patients” and “ghost cataract patients” that hounded the agency.

It was Drilon who exposed the overpriced COVID-19 test package of PhilHealth last May and which forced the health insurance agency to slash the price from P8,150 to P3,409, saving the Filipino people P9.8-billion.

He also said the agency stands to lose its credibility to manage about billions of assets sourced from the hard-earned money of its members given the scope and scale of the alleged corruption within PhilHealth.

“It is not every day that we see key officials resigning from their posts one after the other. We will get to the bottom of this. We are watching you, PhilHealth,” he warned.

“Our health sector is crumbling and these controversies made things even worse. This is too much. We are in a pandemic where people are getting infected, over 2,000 have died, over five million Filipino families are starving, five million lost their jobs, and our economy is on the verge of recession. And yet, here we have PhilHealth in total disarray today because of corruption,” the senator lamented.