In fairness to beleaguered Department of Health (DoH) Secretary Francisco Duque III, it is the board of directors of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) that should be held liable for the alleged widespread corruption at the agency.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said it is the board that is supposed to provide the check and balance in the management at Philhealth.
In a related development, Gatchalian said it is good to hear that PhilHealth officials led by their president, Ricardo Morales, would give a waiver to the Anti-Money Laundering Council for the opening of their bank deposits.
But the Senate Committee of the Whole should dig deeper as there is a possibility that the PhilHealth officials’ money could have in the form of cash or deposited in other banks,he said.
Duque has held the post of ex-officio chairman of PhilHealth board as DoH secretary, a position he held starting in 2001 during the Arroyo administration.
‘’Ang nakakapagtaka bakit umabot pa ng ganito, anong ginagawa ng board. Di lang ang chair, malaki ang kanyang impluwensya pero ang board dapat ding managot,’’ Gatchalian said during a DWIZ radio interview. (What is surprising is why did this corruption issue reached this point. What has the board done? It is not only the chairman who exercises a big influence, but the board should be held accountable)
Sen. Imee R. Marcos had earlier tagged Duque as the godfather at PhilHealth, having been an ex-officio board chairman of PhilHealth where he has created a nest of loyal subordinates.
Imee said Duque is PhilHealth’s ‘’ninong" since the beginning of time.
Gatchalian refused to comment on Duque’s silence on PhilHealth issues but said: ‘‘Si Sen. Imee ang antenna niya mas mataas pa sa telebisyon, karamihan ng kanyang info ay very accurate at may basis.’’ (Sen. Marcos’ antenna has is bigger than a television's; most of her information are very accurate and have basis)
On the suspension of the controversial Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM) policy of PhilHealth where favored hospitals were given preference other the others, Gatchalian said this is a sad episode.
What is needed now is a full blast assistance during the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as this has a ‘’domino effect ang corruption ang puno't dulo taumbayan ang tatamaan,’’ he explained. (This has a domino effect as the ultimate victim of corruption are our countrymen)
‘’Kaya nga natin itinatag ang PhilHealth sa mga ganitong sitwasyon na dapat meron kang insurance na puwedeng gamitin, wala kang kaba na mararamdaman kung paano mo mababayaran, pero parang ngayon kakabahan ka dahil di nila alam kung mababayaran sila o marereimburse ang ospital." (The reason why PhilHealth was established is that there is an insurance that could be used, you have no fears because you will be reimbursed. But now, you are afraid that they do not know whether they will be paid or the hospitals will be reimbursed)