Debt row with PH Red Cross won't be used as 'leverage' vs PhilHealth's 2021 budget: Gordon

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 27 2020 05:44 PM | Updated as of Oct 27 2020 07:39 PM

Richard Gordon and Dante Gierran

MANILA - Sen. Richard Gordon on Tuesday said the Philippine Health Insurance Corp's (PhilHealth) failure to pay its P1.1-billion debt to the Philippine Red Cross would not be used to slash the state insurer's funding in 2021.

Gordon, who is the chair of the PRC, has been slamming PhilHealth for not paying the cost of some 303,000 COVID-19 tests despite a memorandum of agreement between the 2 organizations.

"I don't operate that way... I'm not gonna use it (debt) as leverage," Gordon said in an online press conference.

"People need PhilHealth," he said.

PhilHealth, which has been tied to various alleged corruption schemes in recent years, has a proposed P71 billion budget for 2021.

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Gordon chairs the Senate Committees on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, and the Blue Ribbon.

Both panels have the mandate to summon PhilHealth officials into a Senate investigation, and recommend the filing of charges against individuals who may be liable for irregularities in the agency.

"Hindi naman ako (I am not) unfair. If I see corruption, I'll call it," Gordon said.

"I will go after them if they are using the money for corruption," he said.

"Don't expect anything. It will come when it comes," he added.

PhilHealth said last week it would settle its P1.1-billion debt to the PRC by Monday, Oct. 26.

As of Tuesday morning, the PRC has yet to receive the payment, and may have to cancel the shipment of some 450,000 COVID-19 test kits from China.

The non-government humanitarian organization, which has halted its COVID-19 testing services over PhilHealth's nonpayment, catered to around 26 percent or 1.15 million of the total coronavirus screenings done in the country.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines has logged 373,144 confirmed coronavirus infections, of which, 37,489 are active cases.