Probe alleged PhilHealth anomalies, solon urges

Published August 1, 2020, 11:19 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers has joined the list of lawmakers seeking an investigation on the alleged corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth).

He filed House Resolution No. 1068 seeking to direct the House Committee on Public Accounts, chaired by Anakalusugan partylist Rep. Michael Defensor to look into the alleged anomalies besetting the government corporation that is mandated to help provide affordable, available and accessible health care service for all Filipinos.

“There is a need to determine and address the alleged corruption issues to safeguard the Philhealth’s fund and determine the accountability of the Philhealth officials in order to ensure provision of quality, credible, and reliable services to its members,” he said.

He noted that it was uncovered last June 2019, that there were some Philhealth officials who allegedly created a scheme where medical clinics or establishment continue to receive payoffs for dialysis treatment even after the death of the patients. 

“On July 23, 2020, another corruption controversy circulated on social media in which three Philhealth officials resigned from their posts after alleged corruption activities in the agency were accidentally revealed during a Zoom meeting. One of the said officials who tendered his resignation is the anti-fraud legal officer of Philhealth, Atty. Thorsson Montes Keith, citing widespread corruption as one of his reasons,” Barbers said. 

He said even Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque bared the supposed “systemic corruption” in Philhealth involving those in the agency’s higher echelons. 

“Atty. Roque revealed that an investigation has been conducted on the alleged anomalies on the overprices purchased of an IT system worth over P2 billion,” Barbers said. 

Defensor also filed House Resolution No. 1069 seeking  motu proprio investigation on the corruption issues hounding Philhealth that led to the resignation of several personalities. 

“When there seems to be a pattern of alleged abuses where loopholes can be taken advantage of by the unscrupulous, a systemic change needs to be done to overhaul the present set up,” he said.