Senate President Tito Sotto admitted that he and other lawmakers made a glaring error in crafting the law creating the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) in 1995.
Sotto and other authors of Republic Act 7875, known as “The National Health Insurance Act of 1995”, made the Philhealth chairman non-voting which which gave Health Secretary Fransciso Duque a convenient excuse from any culpability in the Philhealth corruption scandal.
“May mali-mali din kami syempre wala namang perfect na batas. Ang error nga namin doon gawin naming non-voting, hindi ko alam kung panahon ko nailagay yun, kung ako ay isa diyan sa Senado noon pero idadamay ko na yung sarili ko,” said Sotto in a radio interview.
“Nalagay namin non-voting yung chairman pero nangyari yun na labing-tatlo sila, or labing-isa ba sila, odd number. Kaya nga odd number yun, para pagka may tie, yung chairman ang magbibreak ng tie, eh bakit nilagay non-voting?” he added.
Duque has denied any involvement in the multi-billion pesos scandal involving Philhealth because he did not sign on any of the corruption-tainted deals being a non-voting chair.
Sotto vowed to correct this mistake by amending the Philhealth charter, making the Finance Secretary as the its chairman, and giving the Philhealth chairman voting rights in the board.
“Yung chairman, hindi maaaring hindi makialam doon, kaya nagamit tuloy na palusot. Paano pipirma, eh non-voting,” said Sotto.