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Duterte tells PhilHealth head, board of directors to resign

June 11, 2019 - Tuesday 1:06 AM by Jon Joaquin

File photo by JOEY DALUMPINES/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte has demanded the courtesy resignation of acting Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) president and CEO Dr. Roy Ferrer and the members of the board of directors.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the President made the demand when he met with the PhilHealth board of directors on Monday, June 10, during which he expressed his sadness about the state of affairs of the aforesaid government corporation. 

"While the Chief Executive reiterated his trust to - and has no doubt about - the integrity of PhilHealth Acting President and CEO Dr. Roy Ferrer, as well as the members of the board, he however demanded for their courtesy resignation in order for 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.

He said the President has also directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a full-scale investigation on the alleged irregularities concerning the past practices of PhilHealth.

The alleged irregularities came to light after the Philippine Daily Inquirer on June 6 reported a fraudulent claims scheme allegedly practiced by WellMed Dialysis Center in Quezon City.

The report said the dialysis center allegedly files "ghost" claims to PhilHealth, citing former employee Edwin Roberto.

The report said as a result, PhilHealth continues to make payments for dialysis treatments to health providers even though some of the patients have long been dead.

The following day, President Duterte ordered PhilHealth management to institute criminal actions against officials and employees behind alleged irregularities.

The President also instructed Ferrer to submit a detailed report on the alleged irregularities.

On Monday, Panelo said there is "zero tolerance" on corruption under the Duterte administration.

"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 said.

At the same time, Panelo gave assurance 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."

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