Morales, other execs charged before Ombudsman for PhilHealth mess
By Benjamin Pulta
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday formally endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman the complaint against senior officials including the chief of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
In his letter to Ombudsman Samuel Martires, Justice Undersecretary Adrian Ferdinand Sugay said the complaint of the National Bureau of Investigation on irregularities in the state insurer involved the questionable grant of cash advances to health care institutions in the National Capital Region under its interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM).
The said mechanism is provided for under PhilHealth Circular No. 2020-0007 and allowed the release of funds during natural disasters and armed conflicts. Up to 33 percent or PHP5 billion of the PHP14.9 billion released through IRM has been liquidated.
Named in the complaint were former president and chief executive officer (PCEO) Ricardo Morales, executive vice president Arnel de Jesus, senior vice president Renato Limsiaco, senior vice president Israel Francis Pargas and vice presidents Gregorio Rulloda, Imelda Trinidad de Vera, Lolita Tuliao, Gemma Sibucao and Lailani Padua.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, in a message to newsmen, said the charges are for violation of Sections 3(e) and 3 (i) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices act, malversation of public funds or property, violation of Sections 251, 255, and 272 of the National Internal Revenue Code, and Section 4 of Republic Act 1051, which requires government agencies to deduct and withhold taxes in payments made to private institutions and individuals.
“More complaints will be filed in the next few days and weeks against erring PhilHealth personnel and their cohorts,” Guevarra said. (PNA)