President Rodrigo Duterte directed the creation of a task force that would investigate the alleged corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth), Malacañang said Friday.
Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said Department of Justice, Office of the Ombudsman, Office of the Executive Secretary, Office of the Special Assistant to the President, the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Audit, and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) would form the task force.
“Nakinig po ang ating Presidente at umakto bagama’t wala pa pong mapapatunayan sa mabilis na panahon, mayroon naman pong preventive suspension para mapangalagaan ang kaban ng PhilHealth,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
Duterte’s order was enclosed in an August 7 memorandum to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who mandates to submit the findings and recommendations of the task force within 30 days of its formation.
“During the course of the investigation, if warranted, the panel may recommend to the President the imposition of preventive suspension on any PhilHealth official to ensure the unhampered conduct of the investigation,” the memorandum read.
The task force is also authorized to conduct lifestyle checks and file charges against “thieves,” the state-insurer, Roque said.
Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Greco Belgica earlier said at least 36 PhilHealth officials should be fired or face raps for padding of claims in hospitals.
PhilHealth President Ricardo Morales admitted to lawmakers on Tuesday that his efforts to eliminate corruption in PhilHealth were not enough.
“Hindi po sapat ang aking ginagawa… Inaamin ko ho, kulang ako sa paghanap ng mga gumagawa ng katiwalian. Marami pa rin sila,” he said during a Senate inquiry.
(I do not do enough. I admit, I am lacking in finding those who commit corruption. They are still many.)
Morales was appointed as the President of PhilHealth in June 2019 amid the issue of alleged funding of dialysis treatment for patients who already died.
Meanwhile, PhilHealth Senior Vice President Augustus de Villa, who earlier accused of ripping pages of alleged anomalous documents resigned yesterday.