Duterte or­ders crim­i­nal raps vs. Philhealth work­ers for fund mis­use

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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

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