Task Force PhilHealth submits to Duterte report on corruption investigation

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2020 09:00 PM | Updated as of Sep 15 2020 09:36 AM

Whistleblower and former Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) anti-fraud officer Thorrsson Montes Keith takes his oath on Aug. 11, 2020 before the Senate Committee of the Whole which investigated the alleged widespread corruption at the agency. Joseph Vidal, Senate PRIB

MANILA - The Task Force PhilHealth on Monday submitted to the office of President Rodrigo Duterte its report on the alleged corruption at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), the Department of Justice (DOJ), which headed it, said.

In a statement, DOJ said the report consists of 177 pages, excluding annexes, rendering the task force's "initial findings" and "recommendations to the President."

It did not reveal any of the findings.

The task force, composed of representatives from the DOJ, the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP), the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), among others, talked to 14 witnesses in the course of 7 hearings

It also evaluated documents submitted by resource persons, as well as reports and summaries of various cases and reports and recommendations from other agencies, including the Senate.

"As the Task Force awaits any further directives from the President, its composite teams will pursue further targeted investigations of specific acts of fraud or corruption committed by health providers and PhilHealth personnel alike," the DOJ statement reads.

The Senate Committee of the Whole earlier recommended the filing of graft and malversation charges against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (who chairs the PhilHealth board), resigned PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales, and other executives of the state-run insurance firm after they allegedly authorized the release of COVID-19 funds to health facilities not catering to coronavirus patients.

At least 17 senators earlier signed a resolution urging Duque to step down as health chief, saying he has failed to address the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

The alleged corruption issues in PhilHealth surfaced as the country faces a health crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 265,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in the Philippines, as of Monday, of which, nearly 54,000 are active infections. The death toll stood at 4,630, while 207,504 patients have recovered.