Duterte orders criminal raps vs. Philhealth workers for fund misuse
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the filing of criminal charges against officials and employees of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) who are found to be involved in fraudulent and corrupt activities, Malacañang said on Friday, June 7.
Duterte gave the directive in light of allegations that a dialysis facility in Quezon City had allegedly made benefit claims for non-existent kidney treatments.
"The President directs the management of the Philhealth to institute criminal actions against those officials and employees who wittingly or unwittingly allowed such misuse of funds to take place for years," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
On Thursday, June 6, Philihealth announced that it has already filed an administrative cases against Wellmed Dialysis and Laboratory Center in Novaliches, Quezon City for misrepresentation and falsification.
Philhealth's preliminary investigation has found "strong evidence" that Wellmed has been defrauding the state insurance fund by filing claims on behalf of dead patients since 2016.
Despite the filing of criminal cases against those allegedly involved in fraudulent act, Panelo said the Palace was "deeply concerned" over the reported irregularities within the state-run insurance provider.
"The Philhealth has already initiated several actions on the matter. It filed several administrative complaints against those involved in the fraud," Panelo said.
"The Palace views with deep concern the allegations of irregularities involving the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), particularly those with regard to the reported anomalies in connection with bogus kidney dialysis treatments," he added.
Panelo said Duterte wanted the Philhealth to furnish him a copy of a "detailed" report on the supposed misuse of Philhealth funds.
He stressed that Duterte's administration, which does not tolerate corruption in government, would make sure that erring Philhealth workers "will be prosecuted and face accountability."
"The President instructs the institution's acting President to submit a detailed report on these irregularities. We will put a stop to this corruption and we will make sure that the law on universal health care is strictly enforced," the Palace official said.
"The Duterte administration is steadfast in its goal to eliminate corruption in all levels of the bureaucracy. All persons involved in the alleged fraud will be prosecuted and face accountability. They shall reap the harshest penalty imposed by law. Nothing can shield them from prosecution and punishment," he added./sunstar Philippines