Lacson on Gierran as PhilHealth chief: 'I just hope hindi siya ma-manipulate'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 01 2020 12:20 PM

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MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday expressed hopes that newly-appointed Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) chief Dante Gierran would be able to implement needed reforms inside the state health insurer long racked by corruption anomalies. 

“I just hope hindi siya ma-manipulate nung mga tao inside at saka outside of PhilHealth. Alam naman natin for the longest time nauubos 'yung pera ng PhilHealth sa anomalya, sa kalokohan,” said Lacson.

(I just hope he won't be manipulated by people inside and outside of PhilHealth. We all know for the longest time funds of PhilHealth are wasted on anomalies, on wrongdoing.)

The retired chief of the National Bureau of Investigation said he did not apply to head PhilHealth but got the offer through Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, President Rodrigo Duterte’s former longtime aide.

He came in following the resignation of PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales, who left over a medical condition amid inquiries into alleged deeply entrenched corruption at the agency. 

The Senate has just wrapped up its own investigation, where Lacson had pounced on PhilHealth officials over allegations of overpriced procurement and overpayments to favored hospitals. 

“Galing siya sa NBI. Wala namang kontrobersiyang hinarap 'yung NBI. Maayos naman 'yung pagpapalakad sa NBI nung siya ay direktor. On that note, wala naman tayong masabing kinasangkutang kontrobersiya niya,” said Lacson.

(He came from the NBI. There was no controversy during his time. The way he managed the NBI as director was good. On that note, we can't say he has been involved in any controversy.)

Gierran said he would create his own management committee and examine PhilHealth's financial statements, including its fund releases to hospitals, which in some instances came before a board resolution. 

“Ang mabuti lang dito galing siya sa NBI, dating boss niya si Sec. [Menardo] Guevarra na nagsasagawa rin ngayon ng imbestigasyon at I think 'yung next week deadline niya para mag-file na ng kasong administratibo man at saka kriminal against those found responsible,” he said.

(The good thing here is he came from the NBI, his former boss was Secretary Guevarra who is now undertaking an investigation. I think his (Gueverra's) deadline to file administrative and criminal cases against those found responsible is next week.)

The Department of Justice is leading a task force investigating the PhilHealth mess. The task force is set to give its report and recommendation on Sept. 14.

Meanwhile, the head of PhilHealth’s employees’ union on Tuesday said they were disappointed because Duterte did not heed their call to install a financial expert as head of PhilHealth.

Fe Francisco, president of PhilHealth Workers for Hope, Integrity, Transparency, and Empowerment (PhilHealth-WHITE), noted that under the law, the agency should be led by someone with "7 years [of] experience in the field of public health, finance health economics or the combination of any of these expertise."