PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to establish a task force to investigate the reported anomalies in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
"In-address po kay Secretary Menardo Guevarra ng Department of Justice na bumuo po ng task force para po imbestigahan ang mga anomalya rito sa PhilHealth," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a public briefing Friday, August 7, 2020.
(DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra was ordered to form a task force that will investigate the alleged anomalies in PhilHealth.)
Roque said the task force will investigate, conduct a lifestyle check, prosecute, suspend and imprison all the thieves at the government-owned and controlled corporation.
It will have the power to impose preventive suspension, which Congress does not have.
"Dati po paulit-ulit nag-iimbestiga ang Kamara at Senado wala pong nangyayari kasi wala pong kapangyarihan ng preventive suspension," he said.
(Nothing comes out of the investigations conducted by the Senate and the House of Representatives because they don't have the power to impose preventive suspension.)
"So mga kababayan, huwag po kayong magalala, nakinig po ang ating Presidente at umakto, bagama't wala pa pong napapatunayan, sa lalong mabilis na panahon, mayroon naman pong preverntive suspension na mapangalagaan ang kaban ng PhilHealth," he added.
According to Roque, the President wants proof before firing anybody from the state firm.
The task force will be composed of representatives from the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit (COA), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Office of the Executive Secretary and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Undersecretary Jesus Melchor Quitain.
"Ayon po sa memorandum ng ating Presidente, na kaka-issue ngayon lang po, kinakailangan pong bumuo ng task force para po mag-imbestiga, maglitis, mag-suspend, mag-conduct ng lifestyle check at ipakulong ang lahat ng magnanakaw diyan sa PhilHealth," he said.
In a radio interview Friday, PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said he has already submitted the commission's initial findings on the alleged anomalies within the agency.
He said at least 36 PhilHealth officials, whom he did not name, must be dismissed or face charges over the supposed padding of the claims of some hospitals.
"We initially submitted 31 names. Now, we have an additional five names, so it's now 36," Belgica said.
Investigations over the widespread corruption in PhilHealth are being conducted in both chambers of Congress.
In a Senate hearing on August 4, former PhilHealth employee Thorrsson Montes Keith claimed that officials of PhilHealth have stolen P15 billion through fraudulent schemes. (SunStar Philippines)