Sep 15, 2020 @ 18:03

Guevarra clarifies roles of Ombudsman, CoA in Task Force PhilHealth probe

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday clarified that the Office of the Ombudsman and Commission on Audit attended the hearings of Task Force PhilHealth for the purpose of pursuing their own independent investigations.

Guevarra issued the statement when asked if the independence of the Ombudsman and other constitutional bodies like COA have been compromised when they participated in the hearings of Task Force PhilHealth.

“We do not consider them as formal members of the task force precisely because they are not under the executive department. They were something like ‘guest participants’ in the fact-finding aspect, but they had no hand in the evaluation and recommendations made by the DOJ (Department of Justice),” Guevarra said.

Earlier, Task Force PhilHealth has submitted its 177-page report to President Duterte recommending the filing of criminal and administrative complaints against at least seven (7) PhilHealth officials.

The Task Force concluded that “persons who are supposed to set the policies and operational guidelines for the management of PhilHealth – the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee – have not shown the due diligence required of them in the discharge of their duties.”

The Task Force recommended the filing of the following criminal complaints against the officers of PhilHealth:

1. President and Chief Executive Officer (PCEO) Ricardo C. Morales, for: violation of Sections 3(e), (g) of RA No. 3019; Malversation of Public Funds or Property and Illegal Use of Public Funds or Property under the Revised Penal Code; and violation of Sections 251, 255 and 272 of the National Internal Revenue Code;

2. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Arnel De Jesus for violation of Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019;

3. Senior Vice President Jovita V. Aragona, Chief Information Officer and Head of the Information Management Sector, for: violation of Sections 3(a), (e), (g) of RA No. 3019; Frauds against the public treasury and similar offenses under the Revised Penal Code;

4. Senior Vice President Renato Limsiaco, Jr. for: violation of Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019; and Malversation of Public Funds or Property under the Revised Penal Code;

5. Senior Vice President Israel Francis A. Pargas of the Health Financial Policy Sector for: violation of Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019;

6. Officer in Charge Calixto Gabuya, Jr. for: violation of Sections 3(e), (g) of RA No. 3019; and Frauds against the public treasury and similar offenses under the Revised Penal Code; and

7. Division Chief Bobby A. Crisostomo for violation of Section 3(a) of RA No. 3019.

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.

It disclosed that its composite teams are still continuing with the investigations to determine the liability of others involved in similar or other wrongful practices in PhilHealth.#

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