Task force expects to file complaints vs erring PhilHealth officials within 30 days - Guevarra
The Department of Justice-led task force is eyeing to file the complaints against erring officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. within the next 30 days.
In a televised press briefing, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra also warned that other PhilHealth officials, such as Rodolfo del Rosario Jr, PhilHealth senior vice president for the legal sector, were not yet off the hook as the task force has started investigating the legal division of the state health insurer.
"The filing of the complaints, we hope to be able to do so within the next 30 days, because we have to gather the necessary supporting documentary evidence. As I was mentioning earlier, we know where they are but physically, we have to obtain them so that we can attach them in the complaint. So that takes some time also," he said.
Del Rosario was not one among those officials that the task force initially recommended to be charged criminally and administratively for the alleged anomalies in PhilHealth.
Guevarra said with the 30-day deadline given by the President to the task force, their initial probe was focused on the PhilHealth's information and communications technology and on controversial Interim Reimbursement Mechanism.
"But actually, we have started on the legal sector, only that we're not able to complete, that's why it's our target for the next maybe one or two months, the legal sector. So, he (Del Rosario) should not feel secured yet," he said.
As to the possible liability of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who is the ex-officio chairman of PhilHealth, Guevarra said, "Rght now what we have, what we see is it's not yet sufficient to say that there is gross inexcusable negligence on the part of Secretary Duque and members of the board."
In the task force's report to Duterte, it merely recommended strong admonishment against Duque and other members of the PhilHealth board but no administrative or criminal liability.
Guevarra denied that their report was influenced by the President when he initially absolved Duque of any criminal liability.
For those PhilHealth officials, such as former president and CEO Ricardo Morales, who will be initially charged before the Office of the Ombudsman, Guevarra expressed belief that the task force has airtight case against them.
"I think we have sufficient evidence in order for the Ombudsman for the possible finding of probable cause. But we will not preempt the Ombudsman. From our point of view, I am saying that we have sufficient evidence," he said.
Based on their investigation, the DOJ chief said "hundreds of billions" could have lost in PhilHealth due to corruption.
He blamed the apparent "culture of tolerance" in the health insurer.
"They tolerate each other," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS