PhilHealth to appeal COA decision to return P139-M in benefits

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 02 2019 01:00 PM

Watch also in iWant or TFC.tv

MANILA - The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is set to appeal the decision of the Commission on Audit to return P139-million in benefits given by the state insurer to its officials and employees.

"We are appealing the decision to the Court of Appeals," Shirley "Gigi" Domingo, Philhealth spokesperson and Vice President for Corporate Affairs, told DZMM on Tuesday morning.

Domingo believes that the issue is just a matter of interpretation of the law. 

"Yung illegal factor na sinasabi ng COA because they feel hindi kami pwedeng mag-set ng compensation namin. But 'yung interpretation namin, we are allowed to set the compensation. It's not really 'yung masyadong mataas or illegal na pagbigay na walang authority. Hindi ganun ang angle. The angle is the interpretation of the Section 16," said Domingo.

Domingo said that under Section 16 (Powers and Functions) of Article IV of the Republic Act 7875 states that "PhilHealth is authorized to organize its offices and fix its compensation."

"We believe that it's finally the Supreme Court ang mag-iinterpret nun. Kung sinabi ng Supreme Court na ibabalik namin, then no choice, magbabalik kami ng mga allowances na 'yan," she said.

The P139.472-million in benefits and allowances includes P91.156-million in hazard pay and subsistence and laundry allowances in 2012 that PhilHealth management said was "legal, equitable and justified."

The COA proper, however, said the subsistence and laundry allowances cannot be granted as PhilHealth does not have fiscal autonomy.