Following the conduct of a month-long investigation over anomalies at the state health insurer, Task Force PhilHealth has found former PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales and seven other executives liable for graft, Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said on Tuesday (Sept. 15).
“The Task Force concluded that the totality of the evidence ‘supports the reasonable conclusion that wrongful acts or omissions on the part of certain key corporate officers of PhilHealth have been committed’,” he said in a statement as he cited the report that was submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (Sept. 14).
“While it found the Board negligent in some of its decisions, the Task Force nevertheless noted that such negligence was ‘mitigated by the active concealment of vital documents and the apparent misrepresentation by those who have sought the Board’s approval.’ It recommended that the President “strongly admonish and remind the Chairman and Members of the Board of the grave consequences of their action or inaction,” he added.
The task force recommended filing graft complaints against Morales; Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Arnel De Jesus; Senior Vice Presidents Jovita Aragona, Renato Limsiaco Jr., and Israel Francis Pargas; Officer in Charge Calixto Gabuya Jr.; and Division Chief Bobby Crisostomo.
The task force also recommended that Morales and Limsiaco be also held liable for malversation of public funds or property in violation of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).
It also found that Aragona and Gabuya should be held accountable for frauds against the public treasury and similar offenses under the RPC.
“The Task Force also recommended that administrative charges for, among others, dishonesty, gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, be filed against these individuals,” Perete said.
“The Task Force noted that its composite teams are still continuing with the investigations to determine the liability of others involved in similar or other wrongful practices in the PhilHealth,” he added.
Perete noted that the task force’s findings were based on investigation that were focused on the approval and implementation of the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM); the approval of budgets for the purchase of information and communications technology (ICT) equipment; and corporate policies and practices that fail to check, investigate, prosecute and penalize the wrongdoing of PhilHealth personnel as well as health care institutions (HCIs) and professionals.