Will the current extent of corruption and mismanagement at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) render it bankrupt by 2022?
This is one of the questions the Senate will ask once it convenes into a Committee of the Whole to probe the corruption at PhilHealth, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Friday.
“Sa calculation ng taga-PhilHealth by 2022 wala na, ubos na pondo. Isipin mop ag 2022 wala nang pondo anong gagamitin natin? Kawawa ang mga member,” Lacson said in an interview on DZBB.
“Dapat natin makita ang status ng finances ng PhilHealth. Maganda malaman natin yan para magkaroon din tayo ng calculation kung may basehan ba ang sinasabi ng taga-loob na pagdating ng 2022 bangkarote ang PhilHealth. Ang PhilHealth, hindi lang government na pondo ang nariyan, contribution natin lahat yan,” he added.
He said the Senate’s actions are “limited” to an investigation as the implementation of relevant laws are with the executive department.
Lacson earlier said he is drafting a resolution to convene the Senate into a Committee of the Whole to look into reported corruption and mismanagement at PhilHealth.
Punctuating the mismanagement and corruption is a reported shouting match in a recent virtual conference between the PhilHealth president and some board members involving almost P1 billion worth of questionable transactions, including a total overprice of P98 million.
If true, Lacson said, the shouting match “says it all” about corruption at PhilHealth.
Lacson said Senate President Vicente Sotto III told him Thursday night he had information about the shouting match at a “very recent” Zoom meeting.
“Nagkaroon ng shouting match at pinagusapan ang patuloy na katiwalian. Tapos sinabihan niya (Sotto) ako baka pwede tayo mag-file ng resolution dito, unahin natin pagbalik natin sa session. So nagtanong din ako kasi maraming nagsasalita sa PhilHealth di lang makalabas nang lantaran pero nagbibigay ng information, noon pa,” Lacson said.
Lacson said an initial check of figures indicate almost P1 billion in questionable items in PhilHealth’s transactions.
Making matters worse is that the corruption is taking place during a pandemic caused by COVID-19, he said.
“That makes it more urgent and disgusting at abominable. Nakakasuya na sobra,” Lacson said.
Lacson also said the issues taken up at the Zoom meeting were different from those the Senate investigated last year.
He said they had high expectations for PhilHealth when Ricardo Morales was named its new head.
“Lahat kami, ako mismo nag-express, napakataas ng aming expectations at pag-asa na mababago. Pero sad to say patuloy pa rin. Sabi nga ng kasamahan ko unabated na, parang naging kultura sa PhilHealth. So something must be really very wrong na kailangan tingnan uli ng Senado bilang mga policy makers kasi kami nagpatupad ng UHC. Kongreso nagpasa niyan at meron kaming oversight function, mandato namin yan,” he said.