DOJ reviewing MOA between PhilHealth, PRC

Published October 22, 2020, 11:41 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has begun reviewing the agreement the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) has for the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) to conduct testing for the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO /MANILA BULLETIN)
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra
(TOTO LOZANO / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The DOJ is reviewing the MOA (memorandum of agreement) between the Philippine Red Cross and PhilHealth and will render an opinion within the week,” said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday, Oct. 22.

Guevarra said that the review of the MOA was sought by PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Dante Gierran.

“We’re giving this our preferential attention,” the secretary said.

Guevarra noted that “the whole MOA” is covered by the DOJ review “but more particularly on procurement issues.” 
 
The DOJ conducted the review after the PRC decided to stop its COVID-19 testing for PhilHealth since Oct. 14 due.
 
The PRC made the move due to the P930.993 million the state health insurer still owed to it for conducting the COVID-19 tests.
 
Despite this, the PRC assured that it remains open to conduct COVID-19 tests for the public.

Gierran, who retired as director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), earlier said that the state health insurer has the funds to pay the PRC but has sought a legal opinion over the MOA that the previous PhilHealth management signed with the PRC.

The retired NBI chief had pointed out that the MOA should follow Republic Act 9184, the Government Procurement Reform Act.

PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Dante Gierran earlier said that the state health insurer has the funds to pay the PRC but has sought a legal opinion over the MOA that the previous PhilHealth management signed with the PRC.
 
Gierran, who retired as director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), had pointed out that the MOA should follow Republic Act 9184, the Government Procurement Reform Act.
 
He said PRC was picked under emergency procurement bidding instead undergoing the required competitive public bidding under the law.
 
“In regular procurement what is required is competitive bidding which should rather be relaxed under the emergency procurement bidding. But then, even it is relaxed, there are still requirements to be done,” he previously said during an interview over CNN Philippines.
 
Gierran said his legal team found that the MOA did not follow the procurement law due to the absence of publication at the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) and at the PhilHealth website.
 
Regardless of whether the DBM will have a negative legal position, Gierran assured that PhilHealth will pay its debt to PRC.
 

 
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