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Palace on PhilHealth mess: truth will come out

August 04, 2020 - Tuesday 9:08 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image TRUTH WILL COME OUT. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque holds regular virtual presser where he tackled the controversies hounding the PhilHealth on Tuesday (Aug. 4, 2020). Roque said the truth will come out once the investigations on the alleged anomalies are over. (Screenshot)

MANILA – Malacañang believes that the truth will prevail once investigations on alleged anomalies hounding the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) are over.

In a virtual Palace briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after the Senate opened its investigation into allegations of massive corruption in the state insurer.

Currently, the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) and the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP) are also conducting a joint investigation into PhilHealth irregularities.

Roque said the probe in the executive branch is being led by Undersecretary Jesus Melchor Quitain, who heads the OSAP, which is under the Office of the President (OP).

“Kampante naman po kami na sa sabay na imbestigasyon ng ating Usec. Quitain ng Presidential Management Staff at ng Special Office of the Presidential Assistant at ang Senado, lalabas at lalabas po ang katotohanan (We are confident that with investigations being conducted by Usec. Quitain of the Presidential Management Staff, the Special Office of the Presidential Assistant, and the Senate, the truth will come out),” he said.

During the Senate hearing, PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Ricardo Morales bared that about PHP10.2 billion from PhilHealth's budget was "potentially lost" to fraudulent transactions and schemes in 2019.

He said the loss could go as high as PHP18 billion by next year if not addressed.

Last Saturday, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), which is also conducting its own probe into anomalies, announced that it found "systematic flaws" within PhilHealth.

PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica refused to elaborate the results of their investigation but pointed out that its findings involved issues in the state insurer's information technology (IT) system and legal services

Meanwhile, Roque agreed with the remark made by PhilHealth data protection officer Nerissa Santiago, during the Senate hearing, that PhilHealth could collapse in 2022 without additional subsidy from the government.

Santiago bared that PhilHealth is set to incur net operating losses of PHP90 billion this year and PHP140 billion in 2021 if the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic persists.

“As author of the Universal Healthcare, we never, even for one minute, considered that the survival of PhilHealth will solely be by reason of premiums,” Roque said.

He said PhilHealth will not be able to provide free health services and medicine to its members if it relied solely on premium contributions.

“Talagang kung maubos po ang pera ng PhilHealth, gobyerno po ang magbibigay ng pondo kaya nga po ang tawag diyan Universal Healthcare hindi medical insurance (If the PhilHealth would run out of money, the government will have to provide funds that’s why it’s called Universal Healthcare, not medical insurance),” he said. Azer Parrocha