Task force files criminal complaint vs ex-PhilHealth chief Morales, other officials at Ombudsman

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 02 2020 06:20 PM | Updated as of Oct 02 2020 08:39 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) — The inter-agency task force created to investigate alleged anomalies at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) on Friday filed criminal complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against former PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales and several other agency officials.

Morales is facing malversation and graft charges.

In the report, the task force also filed a malversation complaint against senior vice-president Renato Limsiaco, and graft against executive vice-president and chief operating officer Arnel De Jesus, and senior vice-president Israel Pargas.

Among those also named in the complaint were: Gregorio Rulloda, vice president of PhilHealth's Regional Office in the National Capital Region, Imelda Trinidad de Vera-Pe,  Lolita Tuliao, Gemma Sibucao, and Lailani Padua.

The complaint was filed over fund disbursements through the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM), a system where advance releases are made to hospitals in case of unforeseen events.

The transmittal letter from Department of Justice Undersecretary Adrian Sugay, however, stated that the complaint against several PhilHealth officials was limited only to the hospitals in the National Capital Region. 

Task Force PhilHealth submitted its findings to President Rodrigo Duterte last Sept. 14. 

Duterte immediately approved the task force's recommendations.

Also on Friday, Malacañang said PhilHealth president and CEO Dante Gierran has asked agency senior executives to resign amid the issues of corruption. 

It's the fastest way PhilHealth could reorganize, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said on CNN Philippines. 

"We support this initiative of Atty. Gierran. We are confident that he will have very good information that will guide him on whose resignation to accept... I hope, too, that he will be guided by the Senate findings, as well as the findings of Task Force PhilHealth," he said. 

Morales resigned as head of PhilHealth in August due to health reasons, as the agency faced corruption investigation. 

A separate Senate investigation found that as of June 9, 2020, PhilHealth has released P14 billion in COVID-19 funds to 632 health care institutions.

Of the said amount, P231.15 million were given to dialysis centers and maternity clinics, which were not catering to COVID-19 patients, a Senate report showed.

The alleged anomalies at the insurance agency emerged in the middle of the country's health crises brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

-- With a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News