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Lacson: More PhilHealth irregularities

Senator Panfilo Lacson said Friday more irregularities in the operations of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. would be unearthed in the coming days, as he had received new information on how its funds had been wasted.

“When we hear of things like that, it is revolting for us because PhilHealth’s funds are being drained,” Lacson said. 

This developed as Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is facing a plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman after he was accused of owning a company leasing a building in Dagupan City to PhilHealth, of which he is the ex-oficio chairman.

The complainants―Ariel and Ruby Hedia, Darwin and Merlyn Bataan, Sonia Guerra, Liberty Ganzore, Raul and Elloly Galoso, Raymond Ancheta, Ma. Cecilia Torres, Danilo and Sheryl Bautista, and Nelson and Edna Santos―said Duque violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Their consolidated complaint said the Health secretary is a stockholder of the Educational and Medical Development Corp., which owns the building in Dagupan that PhilHealth is using as its regional headquarters.

The company has a paid-up capital of P61,535,000 located at Tapuac District, Dagupan City, Pangasinan, and that Duque owns 13,268 shares of stocks in the firm totaling P13,268,000 subscribed capital. 

Duque “practically” owns the same number of shares of stocks in EMDC, the complaint read.

This was a clear case of a conflict of interest, Lacson said Wednesday.

Still, the senator said this should not stop the public from being vigilant against any corruption affecting the state health insurer, adding corrupt government people would continue taking advantage of the public if it was less than vigilant. 

He said the people would eventually be enlightened. And would be involved in the change themselves.

“The public is observant and taking note of things. And if things reach their limit, it’s still sad because it’s how things have been, it became routine already,” he said. 

Meanwhile, former Senator JV Ejercito expressed hope that the new PhilHealth president and CEO, Ricardo Morales, would make sure the Universal Health care program would be properly implemented so the Filipino people could benefit soonest.

“I hope that the finances of PhilHealth will be well managed given General Morales’ experience to implement UHC,” Ejercito said.

Since Morales served as president of the AFP & Police Mutual Benefit Association Inc., Ejercito said, he had experience in the insurance business and actuarial knowledge.

He also said Morales was a former chairman of the Armed Forces and Police General Insurance Corp.

READ: MWSS board exec named to troubleshoot PhilHealth

READ: Senator threatens PhilHealth probe

READ: Duque, other execs face retroactive inquiry into PhilHealth payouts

READ: PhilHealth stops WellMed claims

Topics: Panfilo Lacson , Philippine Health Insurance Corp. , Office of the Ombudsman , Francisco Duque III
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