With the exception of three top management officials, senior officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. on Wednesday agreed to open their bank accounts to examination by the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
Philhealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales, together with Executive Vice President Arnel de Jesus and Senior VP Rodolfo del Rosario, failed to respond to the challenge posed by the House Committee on Public Accounts.
The three Philhealth officials suddenly disappeared during the virtual committee hearing, reportedly due to various medical issues.
However, majority of the senior Philhealth officials present during the hearing presided over by Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor readily agreed to issue individual waivers in order to grant the AMLC access to their bank records.
Defensor said that with their assent to suggestion made by Deputy Speaker Camarines Sur Rep. ElRay Villafuerte, the burden of suspicion on their possible involvement in massive Philhealth fund anomalies will be reduced.
Among those who agreed to sign the bank account waivers that the public accounts panel will distribute were Senior VPs Renato Limsiaco Jr., Dennis Mas, Israel Francis Parbas, Nerissa Santiago, Oscar Abadu, Shirley Domingo, and Gilda Diaz and Corporate Secretary Jonathan Mangaoang.
Morales, together with De Jesus and Del Rosario, was present during the early stages of the hearing. He had previously sought permission to be excused due to health reasons.
“Those people who agreed to issue waivers are persons in the lower level of PhilHealth’s organizational structure,” said Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers.
Defensor said he was informed that De Jesus has been rushed to the hospital to have his heart pacemaker checked while Morales was reported to have suffered hypertension.
“We are here not to harass you but solve the problem of PhilHealth,” assured Villafuerte who suggested the signing of waivers of their right under the Bank Secrecy Law and allow the AMLC to look into their bank accounts.
The House panel is conducting a parallel inquiry into reports of alleged PhilHealth fund irregularities also being taken up by the Senate.