The Task Force PhilHealth yesterday endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman for formal investigation the findings of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, which recommended charges against 25 incumbent and separated PhilHealth officials for alleged fraudulent membership enrollment and benefit claims in Region 1.
The charges against the 25 individuals include: (1) Falsification by Public Officer under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC); (2) Malversation under Article 217 of the RPC, (3) Usurpation of authority under Article 177 of the RPC; (4) Violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act under Republic Act (RA) No. 3019; (5) Violations of the National Health Insurance Act of 1995 under RA No. 7875, as amended by RA Nos. 9241 and 10606; and (6) administrative liabilities for Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.
Investigations revealed that a fake account was created at PhilHealth Regional Office I under the name “Pamela Del Rosario” and contributions were retroactively applied and ante-dated.
Twenty-seven fraudulent claims worth P1.1 million were then made under this account.
The report also recommended charging PhilHealth officials and employees who were originally tasked to investigate the alleged fraudulent scheme but failed to prosecute those involved in the incident.
President Duterte ordered the Department of Justice to form a task force to investigate allegations of massive corruption inside PhilHealth.
Justice Secretary Menardo 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 August 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.