DURING the second Joint Public Hearing on the PhilHealth controversy conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon and Health and Demography committees, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said he will make sure that those involved in the fraudulent and corrupt activities in Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) will be brought to justice.
Several key government agencies were called by the senator to help investigate and shed light on various alleged anomalies involving PhilHealth.
Go asked Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Michael Aguinaldo to conduct a special audit on PhilHealth fund utilization and submit their findings to the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Humihingi ako ng tulong sa mismong Chairman ng Commission on Audit,” Go shared. Addressing Aguinaldo, the senator said, “Please, Chairman Aguinaldo, I urge you to conduct a special audit and submit your findings to the Ombudsman. Gumawa kayo ng audit para malaman natin kung sino ang mga salarin.”
The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Bureau of Investigation, also present during the hearing, were asked by Go to conduct their own investigations too.
“Please get to the bottom of this mess. ‘Wag kayong mahihiyang sabihin kung sino ang mga nasa likod ng kalokohan na ito, kahit sino pa ang mga taong ito. Karapatan ng taumbayan malaman ang katotohanan,” Go said.
Go also told representatives from the Department of Justice during the hearing to file cases against those who will be found responsible for the anomalies. “Kasuhan ninyo ang mga dapat kasuhan. No one is above the law,” Go said.
The senator called out current PhilHealth president, retired army general Ricardo Morales, and challenged him to institute immediate reforms in order to put a stop to the anomalies and weed out corruption in the agency.
“Finally, I challenge the leadership of General Morales. I know you are a man of integrity. We trust that you will be able to weed out corruption and the corrupt officials and employees in the agency.” Go added that Morales has a huge responsibility in his hands, especially with the implementation of the Universal Health Care Law.
“Kung gusto natin ng maayos na health care, kailangan natin na maayos ang PhilHealth,” Go stressed.
Allegations of fraudulent, overpayment and unpaid claims, accreditation suspension, conflict of interest of officials, overstocking of medicines and supplies, and reorganization have been crippling the credibility and accountability of healthcare services in the country over the years. All of these, as cited by Go, resulted in the wastage of public funds intended to help indigent patients.
“Inuulit ko – pera ng taong-bayan ang pondo ng PhilHealth. Galing ‘yan sa mga taong nagpapakahirap sa trabaho at umaasang mabigyan nang maayos na serbisyo kapag sila ay nagkakasakit. Ang pera ng mga PhilHealth members, dapat ibalik sa kanila. Hindi ito dapat ibinubulsa ng iilan lang,” he said.
Go lamented that while public servants are working tirelessly to uplift the lives and improve health services for the people, there are others that continue to destroy the reputation and taint the trust of the people in the government.