PhilHealth says 92 percent of 'stolen' P15-billion funds were 'liquidated,' not missing

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2021 02:57 PM | Updated as of Jan 26 2021 03:25 PM

PhilHealth says 92 percent of 'stolen' P15-billion funds were 'liquidated,' not missing 1
Philhealth Local office at Mother Ignacia Street. Quezon City. Taken on June 7, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — State medical insurer PhilHealth said on Tuesday it had "liquidated" most of the P15 billion that former officials were accused last year of pocketing.

Former PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales resigned in 2020 after he and other officials were accused of pocketing P15 billion, approving alleged overpriced projects, and releasing funds to supposedly favored hospitals. 

Morales' successor Dante Gierran said lawmakers instructed him to find the allegedly stolen funds.

"Sa totoo lang po, hindi nawawala, and’yan lang, on record po," he told reporters in an online briefing. 

"Sa ngayon po, 92 percent na ang liquidated. Kaunti na lang po. I will not allow iyong pera ng Pilipino mawala," the official added. 

(In truth, that was not lost, it's just there, on record. Ninety-two percent has been liquidated. Only a little is missing. I will not allow the funds of the Filipinos to disappear.)

The 8 percent that PhilHealth is yet to account for will be about P120 million. 

Around 13 PhilHealth personnel have been suspended over supposed anomalies, Gierran said. 

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Last year, PhilHealth's nearly P1 billion debt to the Philippine Red Cross temporarily forced the humanitarian organization to halt its screening for the novel coronavirus. At that time, the PRC was responsible for about a quarter of all the COVID-19 tests in the country.

PhilHealth still owed the PRC about P400 million, which will be settled “subject to validation,” said Gierran

"We have money," he added, saying PhilHealth had P132 billion as of November last year. 

Gierran also told the public, "Kayang-kaya natin ito. Ano lang, ‘wag tayong magpahiyaan ng PhilHealth, tulungan natin taga-PhilHealth." 

(We can do this. Let us just not humiliate PhilHealth, let us help PhilHealth.)