The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) will not be influenced and will remain independent in ruling over cases concerning anomalies involving the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), assured Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday, Sept. 15.
Guevarra made the assurance after the Ombudsman and other constitutional bodies like the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) participated in the hearings conducted by the DOJ-led Task Force PhilHealth which conducted an investigation concerning corrupt activities at the state health insurer.
“We do not consider them as formal members of the task force precisely because they are not under the executive department,” said the secretary.
“They were something like ‘guest participants’ in the fact-finding aspect, but they had no hand in the evaluation and recommendations made by the DOJ,” he added.
The task force already submitted its report on the investigation to President Duterte.
Guevarra noted that “the OMB and other constitutional bodies such as the COA and the CSC attended the meetings/hearings of the task force upon our invitation, for the purpose of pursuing their own independent investigations/audits.”
The task force was created by the DOJ on Aug. 7 pursuant to the directive of the President to investigate PhilHealth over alleged corrupt activities.
Aside from the DOJ, the task force is composed of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP), the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), the National Prosecution Service (NPS), the DOJ Office of Cybercrime (OOC), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
“Any member of the task force may file the complaint when the case build-up or evidence gathering is completed,” said Guevarra.
The complaints will have to be filed before the OMB if it concerns government officials or before the NPS when it involves private individuals.