State medical insurer PhilHealth said Tuesday it had "liquidated" most of the P15 billion that former officials were accused last year of pocketing.
Former PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales resigned in 2020 after he and other officials were accused of pocketing P15 billion, approving alleged overpriced projects and releasing funds to supposedly favored hospitals.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is poised to approve on final reading soon a measure seeking to grant the president of the Philippines the power to suspend the scheduled increases in PhilHealth’s premium contributions.
This came after the House passed on second reading House Bill 8461 that would amend Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Healthcare Act by giving the President the power to defer the scheduled PhilHealth contribution increases in times of national emergencies or when the public interest so requires.
Morales' successor Dante Gierran said lawmakers instructed him to find the allegedly stolen funds.
“In truth, that was not lost, it's just there on record. Ninety-two percent has been liquidated. Only a little is missing. I will not allow the funds of the Filipinos to disappear,” Gierran said
The 8 percent that PhilHealth is yet to account for will be about P120 million.
Around 13 PhilHealth personnel had been suspended over supposed anomalies, Gierran said.
Last year, PhilHealth's nearly P1 billion debt to the Philippine Red Cross temporarily forced the humanitarian organization to halt its screening for the novel coronavirus. At that time, the PRC was responsible for about a quarter of all the COVID-19 tests in the country.
PhilHealth still owed the PRC about P400 million, which would be settled “subject to validation,” said Gierran.
"We have money," he added, saying PhilHealth had P132 billion as of November last year.
Gierran also told the public “We can do this. Let us just not humiliate PhilHealth, let us help PhilHealth. with Willie Casas