MALACAÑANG assured Monday, June 10, that Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) services would not be disrupted despite the misuse of funds for bogus dialysis treatments.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo gave the assurance after President Rodrigo Duterte asked PhilHealth's acting chief Roy Ferrer and members of the board to file their courtesy resignations because of "command responsibility."
In a statement, Panelo said the President has directed the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the supposed unlawful activities of some personnel of the state health insurance agency.
"President Duterte directed the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct a full-scale investigation on the alleged irregularities concerning the past practices of PhilHealth," the Palace official said late Monday night.
"We assure our people that the services of PhilHealth will remain unhampered as operations will continue and will be momentarily run by second-level officials pending the subject investigation," he added.
Allegations that benefit claims were granted to nonexistent patients of accredited health provider WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center in Novaliches, Quezon City rocked PhilHealth last week.
In a separate statement, senator-elect Christopher Lawrence Go said the resignations of PhilHealth officials will only take effect once accepted by the President.
For now, Go said they should continue to report for work and perform normal duties and responsibilities, "until any action on their courtesy resignations is taken by the President."
Duterte met with PhilHealth board members on Monday in a bid to address the supposed fraudulent schemes hounding the state health insurer.
Panelo said that during the meeting, the President reiterated his trust in the integrity of Ferrer and PhilHealth board members, but expressed "sadness" over the PhilHealth's state of affairs.
Duterte likewise stressed that their courtesy resignation would allow the corporation "to have a clean slate absent any taint of irregularity in rendering services as well as implementing pertinent policies on health, including the Universal Health Care Act," Panelo said.
"There is zero tolerance on corruption under this Administration," he said.
"There will be an in-depth study on how the frauds are systematically committed by unscrupulous persons in and out of PhilHealth. There will be criminal prosecutions of all those involved. No one will be spared," he added. (SunStar Philippines)