The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has continued its investigation into reported anomalies in Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), including the alleged P865.9 million common stock investment scam.
PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said they are also looking into other anomalies, including the alleged overpriced coronavirus testing packages as well as the alleged overpriced information and technology equipment.
The PACC investigation covers around 40 PhilHealth officials, including the board of directors, executive committee, and those assigned in the regional offices, according to Belgica.
“Mayroon kaming pending investigation sa PhilHealth, bagamat natapos ang submission sa task force, tuloy ang investigation sa PhilHealth (We have a pending investigation on PhilHealth. Although we submitted our report to the task force, our investigation on PhilHealth continues),” he said during a televised press briefing Monday.
On the investment scheme, Belgica said they received allegation of irregularities in the PhilHealth investment scheme, including the alleged violation of its Charter and splitting of profits among certain officials.
Belgica said a Commission on August (COA) memorandum showed P865,927,169 of the P1 billion initial investments were invested in common stocks in 2016 “contrary to Section 27 (d) of Republic Act No. 10606, otherwise known as the PhilHealth Charter.” The PhilHealth Charter stated that investments must be limited in preferred stocks only, he said.
“Nakita namin sa kanilang Charter wala silang karapatan o kapangyarihan na maglagay sa common stocks, doon lamang sa mga preferred stocks (We saw in their Charter that they have no right or power to invest in common stocks. They’re only allowed to invest in preferred stocks),” Belgica said.
Common stock entitles shareholders a share in the company’s profits through dividends as well as allows them to elect the board of directors. Preferred shares don’t usually offer voting rights but tend to have higher dividend yield.
According to Belgica, the PACC is also probing allegations that income in these investments was being divided among PhilHealth board of directors and executive committee. The company’s financial statement, however, claimed such investments have “zero interest earnings” at the end of the investment period, he said.
On PhilHealth’s benefit package for coronavirus testing, Belgica said the commission has started to evaluate documents related to the program as well as payment of alleged overpriced testing packages. He said clarificatory hearings have already been scheduled.
The anti-corruption bod is also looking into PhilHealth documents on P2.16 billion procurement of various IT equipment. Belgica said PhilHealth officers and other potential witnesses may be called to testify.
Belgica said the commission intends to gather sufficient evidence to bring any erring public servant to the bar of justice. He said they want to ensure the cases to be filed will be air-tight so it would stand in court.
“We will be filing cases to the Ombudsman very soon,” he said.
President Duterte recently endorsed the filing of administrative and criminal complaints against former PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales and several other high ranking officials over alleged anomalies based on the initial results of the probe of an inter-agency task force. The concerned officials allegedly committed negligence in the discharge of their duties, particularly on some alleged irregular disbursement of Interim Reimbursement Mechanism given to hospitals as well as the procurement of information technology equipment.