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Duterte approves charges against Morales, other senior PhilHealth officials

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Former Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) president Ricardo Morales and several high-ranking officials will face charges of alleged anomalies in the state-owned corporation.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte speaks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Essential Members of Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacaang on September 14, 2020. ACE MORANDANTE / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Duterte approved the recommendations of the Department of Justice-led panel, which included filing administrative and criminal complaints against PhilHealth officials in connection with alleged improper procurement of information technology equipment, issuance of the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM). ), among others.

The president read excerpts from the report presented by the PhilHealth Corruption Task Force during his press conference Monday evening.

The issue of PhilHealth and corruption was indeed an important issue for Filipinos and everyone is again put at risk by the actions of officials, Duterte said.

I feel sorry for them, but you have to be judged. Though they can always prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The presumption of innocence still merges, but the report of other agencies says otherwise. So you can get PhilHealth. Halos lahat sa bord, ”he said.

President Harry Roque’s spokesman later announced that the President had given the green light to the task force recommendations.

Among those to be charged criminally and administratively are: former President Morales, SVP (Jovita) Aragona, OIC (Calixto) Gabuya, SVP (Renato) Limsiaco (Jr.), SVP (Israel Francis) Pargas, COO (Arnel) De Jesus, Crisostomo, etc., said Roque.

While reading the report, the President said the task force gathered evidence showing wrongdoing or omissions by some of the top PhilHealth corporate officials they committed.

The task force recommended that the President strongly warn and remind the chairman and board members of the serious consequences of their action or inaction on the PhilHealth fund to the government and its coffers and to the interest of ordinary people who rely on PhilHealth assistance .

He recommended prosecuting PhilHealth officials for alleged grafting and misuse of public funds. Officials may also be held liable for violating the national revenue code in connection with their alleged failure to withhold taxes on IRM exemptions.

The Task Force also recommended filing administrative complaints against several PhilHealth officials for alleged dishonesty, gross negligence, aggravated conduct, forgery of official documents, distrust of the Republic of the Philippines and the Philippines, inefficiency and inability to perform official duties, and / or prejudicial behavior in the best interest of the service.

Last month, the President ordered the creation of a task force to look into allegations of corruption and other anomalies attacking PhilHealth.

The panel, including the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Anti-Money Laundering Council, has been authorized to look into PhilHealth finances, conduct lifestyle checks and impose preventive suspensions on PhilHealth officials pending an investigation.

The president had earlier promised to jail PhilHealth officials who would be found involved in corruption.

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