Jan 13, 2021 @ 15:12
Gueverra: Government to remain unrelenting against corruption
Following the endorsement of charges against Philippine Health Insurance Corporation officials before the Ombudsman, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday said the government will remain unrelenting in its campaign to stop corruption in the bureaucracy.
“We want to convey the message to the people that the anti-corruption campaign of the government is a continuing effort. While our system of justice grinds rather slowly, we can assure that it works and that justice will eventually be served,” Guevarra said when asked what the government wanted to convey when they endorsed the charges against Region 1 PhilHealth current and separated officials.
Aside from alleged corruption in PhilHealth, Guevarra vowed to go after erring officials and employees in other government agencies where corruption is a regular occurrence.
“We’re now shifting our focus to other agencies where corruption is likewise prevalent,” Guevarra, head of the ‘mega’ task force against corruption, said.
The Task Force PhilHealth on Tuesday endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman the findings of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, which recommended the filing of charges against 25 incumbent and former Philhealth executives for alleged fraudulent membership enrollment and benefit claims in Region 1.
The charges against the 25 individuals include: (1) Falsification by Public Officer under Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC); (2) Malversation under Article 217 of the RPC, (3) Usurpation of authority under Article 177 of the RPC; (4) Violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act under Republic Act (RA) No. 3019; (5) Violations of the National Health Insurance Act of 1995 under RA No. 7875, as amended by RA Nos. 9241 and 10606; and (6) administrative liabilities for Grave
Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.
Investigations revealed that a fake account was created at PhilHealth Regional Office I under the name “Pamela Del Rosario” and contributions were retroactively applied and ante-dated. Twenty-seven (27) fraudulent claims worth P1. 1 million were then made under this account.
The report also recommended charging PhilHealth officials and employees tasked to investigate such alleged fraudulent scheme and their consequent failure to properly prosecute those involved in the incident.
President Duterte ordered the Department of Justice to form a task force to investigate allegations of massive corruption inside PhilHealth.
“Task Force PhilHealth as a composite group will initiate fresh investigations on alleged anomalies that are not the subject of any ongoing investigation or audit,” Guevarra said.
The task force is composed of the DOJ, Office of the Ombudsman (OMB), the Commission on Audit (COA), the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP), the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the National Prosecution Service (NPS).