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Guevarra: more composed teams will be formed to investigate PhilHealth anomalies

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Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Thursday (September 17th) more composite teams will be formed to investigate the anomalies at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Secretary of Justice Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

We can create several more, said Guevarra, the PhilHealth Task Force caller who investigated abnormalities in the state health insurer.

On the other hand, the secretary said that he has not yet determined how many composite teams will be created and what specific issues these will address.

We need priority, so as not to spread too thin, Guevarra stressed.

At the moment, Guevarra said the PhilHealth Task Force has set up two composite teams which are currently investigating separately the government corporate information technology (IT) sector and the legal sectors.

The Secretary noted that the composite team investigating the IT sector consists of members from the Department of Justice (DOJ), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP) in cooperation with the Audit Committee (COA).

Meanwhile, the composite team investigating the legal sector consists of members from the DOJ, NBI, OSAP and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) in cooperation with the COA.

Once retired NBI Director Dante Gierran takes his oath of office as PhilHealth president and chief executive, Guevarra previously said the two composite teams would be given 30 days to complete their respective investigations.

The task force has already submitted its report on the initial findings of its investigation to President Duterte last Monday.

In conducting the investigation, the PhilHealth Task Force focused on three issues: the approval and implementation of the Temporary Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM); approval of budgets for the purchase of information and communication technology (ICT) equipment; and corporate policies and practices that fail to control, investigate, prosecute, and penalize misconduct by PhilHealth staff as well as health care institutions (HCIs) and professionals.

In its report, the PhilHealth Task Force recommended filing criminal complaints for violations of the Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Grafting and Corruption Practices Act against former PhiloHealth PCEO Ricardo Morales; Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer Amel De Jesus; Senior Vice President Jovita Aragona, Chief Information Officer and Chief of Information Management Sector; Senior Vice President Renato Limsiaco Jr; Israel Senior Vice President Francis Pargas of Health Financial Policy Sector; Charge d’Affaires Calixto Gabuya Jr .; and Division Chief Bobby Crisostomo.

The Task Force also recommended that Morales file criminal charges for violations of the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code, as well as for misuse of public funds or property and misappropriation of public funds or property in violation of the Revised Criminal Code. (RPC))

In addition to Morales, the task force said Limsiaco should also be held accountable for misuse of public funds or property under the RPC.

The task force said criminal charges should also be filed against Aragona and Gabuya for fraud against the public treasury and similar offenses under the RPC.

He also recommended that administrative charges be brought against them for, inter alia, dishonesty, gross negligence of duty, misconduct and prejudicial behavior in the best interest of the service.

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