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Ping baffled by Duque’s silence on Philhealth corruption issue

Senator Panfilo Lacson said that he would ask Health Secretary Francisco Duque III if the latter attends the Senate hearing on Aug 18, why he is quiet on alleged corruption within Philhealth.

 “I will ask him why he has been very quiet in spite of all the anomalies being openly discussed with so many unanswered questions involving highly questionable transactions by PhilHealth in the procurement of IT equipment, IRM funds distribution and manipulation of the agency’s financial statements which no less than COA has red-flagged on top of recurring disallowances and suspension in billions of pesos year in and year out,” said Lacson.

Lacson added that he will question Duque, being Philhealth incumbent ex-officio chairman, who was present during the shouting match in their last board meeting that effectively triggered these controversies.

“I’ll ask him what he intends to do or recommend to the President.”

Earlier in the day, Lacson noted that the ‘big elephant’ was not in the room during the two Senate Committee of the Whole hearings on PhilHealth’s unbridled corruption. He was obviously referring to Duque.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III ordered the secretariat of the Committee of the Whole take a closer look at healthcare institutions that received funds from the PhilHealth's IRM.

B. Braum Avitum, which owns and manages 25 dialysis centers across Luzon, was among these HCIs.

During a recent Senate hearing, Senator Joel Villanueva brought up the fact that B. Braun Avitum's facility in in Benguet was given P11.38 million on May 5 through the IRM. The senator alleged that "PhilHealth's advance payments to dialysis centers like B. Braun were provided up to the maximum limit when IRM releases to COVID-19 hospitals only hovered around 50 to 70 percent."

But B. Braum Avitum said the funds made available through the IRM  to support the operations of HCIshave enabled B. Braun Avitum to provide quality renal services to dialysis patients who require regular treatment.

Such treatment must not be interrupted despite the coronavirus situation, as our patients' lives will be compromised.

Together with all other HCIs who have and are receiving IRM funds, B. Braun Avitum is deeply appreciative of the IRM funds received from PhilHealth."

Meanwhile, Lacson presented a document indicating that B Braun is allegedly the same health care institution involved in the P9.7 million that was wrongly miscredited to Balanga Rural Bank in Bataan in May 2019.

Resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud officer Thorrsson Montes Keith had claimed that he believed that PhilHealth Senior Vice President Rodolfo Del Rosario is the owner of the B. Braun. Del Rosario has denied the allegation.

B. Braun Avitum is unfazed by issues brought up by Lacon and Keith. The company maintains that it has not engaged in any illegal or unethical activities, citing the reputation that it has established for decades.

The company explained, "As a medical technology company with a global history of 180 years and having served the Filipino people for 34 years, B. Braun Avitum holds itself strictly to the highest standards of integrity in all its business dealings.

Topics: Francisco Duque III , Panfilo Lacson , PhilHealth , Joel Villanueva , COVID-19 , Vicente Sotto III
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