The Senate will recommend the filing of graft, malversation and other charges against Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) chief Ricardo Morales and other executives over alleged anomalies at the state health insurer, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Sunday (August 23).
In addition to graft and malversation, Lacson told dzBB radio that Philhealth officials could also be held liable for perjury and violation of the National Internal Revenue Code.
Lacson named Fund Management Sector senior vice president Renato Limsiaco Jr., senior vice president and chief information officer Jovita Aragona, and senior ICT officer Calixto Gabuya Jr. as among the Philhealth officials whom the Senate would recommend charges against in its report.
The Senate committee of the whole wrapped up last week its investigation on the alleged anomalies in Philhealth.
Lacson said Philhealth officials committed malversation when they implemented the interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) for COVID-19 prior to the effectivity of the circular.
He said the advancement of payments to maternity clinics, infirmaries and dialysis centers through the IRM was also anomalous.
Lacson said the IRM should only be used for “fortuitous events” like calamities.
“Hindi naman ang sinasabi ng Committee of the Whole na huwag nating bigyan ng tulong. Ang sinasabi lang merong ibang program para doon. Sa regular benefit claims dapat nakapaloob ‘yung para sa ibang mga dapat bigyan ng tulong,” he said.
Lacson said Philhealth officials could also be held liable for violation of the National Internal Revenue Code for failing to shave the withholding tax from IRM payments to hospitals. .
“May anti-graft pa, ‘yung RA 3019, kasi hinugot nila doon sa corporate operating budget ‘yung pondo. E pera ng gobyerno ‘yun. Hindi puwedeng gamitin ‘yun na pambayad ng tax,” he said.
Lacson said Aragona and Gabuya could face charges over the alleged overpriced IT system for Philhealth.