Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed Saturday that Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) gave more than P200 million worth of funds to hospitals treating only one COVID-19 patient each.
Lacson said in a radio interview over AM radio station DWIZ that one hospital is located in Eastern Visayas, and one is in Bicol. He, however, did not identify the names of the hospitals.
“And the money was released quickly,” Lacson added, speaking in Filipino.
The Senator added PhilHealth released P247 million to Bicol and P196 million to Eastern Visayas in just one week.
“But they only have one COVID-19 patient [each],” he added.
“This is a surprising allegation. We got this report, and we will ask [at a planned Senate hearing] if this is true. But this has records,” he said.
Lacson said five hospitals in two regions are involved in the reported PhilHealth scheme.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday claimed the same report and questioned why PhilHealth allocated P300 million worth of funds to reimburse hospitals in areas with a low number of COVID-19 cases.
Roque said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV that he obtained a document indicating PhilHealth gave P300 million each for hospitals in the Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas despite the regions’ low number of COVID-19 patients.
Lacson also said PhilHealth president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales should resign if he would fail to give a satisfactory explanation on the corruption allegations.
“Unless (Morales) can refute these (corruption allegations) credibly, which I said are backed up by documents, there is no other way to go but to resign if the allegations are true,” Lacson told radio station dzBB.
“So far, at face value, I would say these are true because they’re supported by documents. But if he can refute them with documents or official issuances, and break the credibility of the document we have, we can say that these allegations are just meant to malign by some people,” he added.
Lacson is expected to file a resolution today that would open the investigation in PhilHealth. He said Morales’ credibility has been in question after some officials resigned due to the “widespread” corruption in the agency.