Tuesday 22 January, 2019
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Nag-meeting lang, may bonus na? SC disallows Philhealth ex officio directors’ P3M expenses

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The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the Commission on Audit’s (COA) April 2015 decision disallowing the payment of P2.97 million in “institutional meeting expenses (IME)” to the ex officio members of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) board of directors.

In a recent 17-page en banc decision, the SC said the Cabinet secretaries and government officials serving the board in an ex officio capacity had “no right to receive any other form of additional compensation.”

The SC noted that ex officio board members were already receiving allowances from their own agencies, and the Philhealth’s payment of IMEs was contrary to the constitutional prohibition on the receipt of additional compensation.

It said only appointive members of the Philhealth board were entitled to receive per diems under Section 18(d) of the National Health Insurance Act of 1995.

The SC also rejected Philhealth’s oft-repeated claim that its fiscal autonomy gave it the discretion to grant allowances to its executives.

It also refused to hold the ex officio board members in good faith, saying their “patent disregard of case law and COA directives amounts to gross negligence.”

The decision was penned by Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza.

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