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Guevarra hopes PhilHealth probe finished in 30 days

Menardo Guevarra

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra expressed hope over the weekend that the inter-agency task force created to investigate allegations of corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation could finish its investigation within the 30-day period given to body.

This as Guevarra disclosed that two PhilHealth board members are set to testify before the task Force on September 1, 2020.

“The task force will be able to have a broad overview of the systemic problems plaguing PhilHealth and make appropriate recommendations thereon to the President by the end of the 30-day period given to the task force.”

“We also hope to be able to file certain legal actions with the office of the ombudsman by then. But the deeper and more thorough investigative work and structural reforms affecting the central and regional offices will continue for a long time thereafter. We hope that the new leaders who will be installed at philhealth will carry on this internal cleansing and restoration on their own, ” Guevarra said.

Two board members and the head of the internal legal office will testify next, Guevarra added.

Guevarra continued that the task force had summoned at least more 10 resource persons.

President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Justice to form a task force to investigate allegations of massive corruption inside PhilHealth.

Guevarra said the different agencies composing the task force have agreed to fast-track the investigation and special audit on PhilHealth.

“Task Force PhilHealth as a composite group will initiate fresh investigations on alleged anomalies that are not the subject of any ongoing investigation or audit,” Guevarra said.

The task force is composed of the DOJ, Office of the Ombudsman (OMB), the Commission on Audit (COA), the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP), the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the National Prosecution Service (NPS).

Last Aug. 4, senators grilled PhilHealth senior officials over the reported corruption in the agency, particularly the allegedly overpriced Information Technology system project proposed by the management; the promotion of officials who were involved in previous controversies; the questioned reimbursements to select hospitals and health facilities; and the supposed mismanagement of the agency’s funds amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thorsson Montes Keith, PhilHealth anti-legal fraud officer, recently blew the whistle on his colleagues by citing the “widespread corruption in PhilHealth. ” He just quit his post.
The Senate Committee of the Whole has been conducting a formal inquiry into the PhilHealth fund mess.