By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang asked former Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque to file the appropriate charges against specific people if he does not believe that those tagged as PhilHealth ‘mafia’ members are not true.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after Roque said officials higher up the ladder should be held accountable for the losses the PhilHealth has incurred. He also said that former PhilHealth chief Roy Ferrer was among those involved in allegedly questionable activities.
In his Monday press briefing, Panelo said they are already investigating the issue surrounding PhilHealth and that his predecessor should just file the appropriate charges if he has evidence to back his claims.
“‘Di ba dati naman may (There has been an) ongoing investigation. Now if Mr. Roque has goods on any official in the PCSO, PhilHealth then he should file the appropriate charges,” he said.
“We are always for the rule of law. Whatever anybody who wants to file any case against any official, let the law take its course. Palagi ‘yan ang stand ng OP (That has been the stand of the Office of the President),” he added.
Panelo also addressed Roque’s suggestion to have PhilHealth abolished and a new agency created so that funds for the Universal Health Care Act would be in good hands.
“Hindi ko alam yung sinasabi niya (I don’t t know what he is saying). Then let him file the appropriate charges. If he wants it abolished then address it to Congress,” Panelo said.
Last week, a former PhilHealth board member identified eight people who are part of the “alleged” mafia within the state health insurance agency.
In June, President Duterte asked PhilHealth board members, including Ferrer, to turn in their resignation following reports that the agency lost some P154 billion to ghost patients and deliveries.
Duterte then noted that he does not doubt the integrity and honesty of Ferrer but expressed disappointment over the “totally unacceptable” losses.
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last month, President Duterte said he was grossly disappointed over the alleged misuse of PhilHealth’s funds on ghost dialysis treatments.
“The recent uncovering of the massive fraud perpetrated against the public health insurance system proves that corruption is pervasive,” he said.
In June this year, Duterte vowed to reorganize the PhilHealth. He then appointed former Army general Ricardo Morales as the agency’s new president.