House panels mull flight ban vs PhilHealth execs tagged in corruption scandal

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2020 02:54 PM | Updated as of Aug 18 2020 03:40 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) — Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday sought to prevent several Philippine Health Insurance Corp officials (PhilHealth) from flying out of the country as they investigate the alleged "mafia-like" corruption prevalent within the agency. 

In a joint hearing, the House committees on public accounts and good government and public accountability approved a motion to seek "guidance" from the Department of Justice (DOJ) for a possible issuance of hold departure orders against PhilHealth officials tagged in corruption.

The motion was requested by Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr., who said he "dreamt" that PhilHealth officials fled outside the country to evade prosecution for their supposed misdeeds.

"Yes Mr. Chairman hold departure order kasi Mr. Chairman pagdating ng Power Rangers sa panaginip ko nagtakbuhan. Nagtakbuhan sa ospital at nagtakbuhan kung saan-saan. 'Yung iba nag-resign pa sa mafia. Ewan ko kung naano sa sitwasyon na ito baka magtakbuhan na rin sa abroad 'yang mga 'yan," Haresco said.

(Yes Mr. Chairman [we need] a hold departure order because in my dream, when the Power Rangers arrived, they ran away. They ran to hospitals, different places. Others resigned from the mafia. I don't know in this situation maybe they might flee abroad.)

Among those to be covered by the possible flight ban are top executives of PhilHealth in its main office as well as those in regional units.

The panels have yet to identify the officials. 

However, Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla cautioned his colleagues about the scope of such order, asking that it be specific to avoid unduly alarming those who are innocent.

The House of Representatives, the Senate, as well as an inter-agency task force created by the President are simultaneously conducting investigations into alleged irregularities in PhilHealth, including overpayments to hospitals and overpricing in procurement.

— Reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News