Ombudsman clears eight PhilHealth execs of graft

For lack of merit, the Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed a graft and administrative complaint filed by some of the employees of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. against their former and incumbent officials for getting back at their subordinates.

In a 29-page resolution dated March 22, Ombudsman Samuel Martires approved the recommendation of the Special Panel of Investigators junking the complaint against Senior Vice President for Management Services Sector Dennis Mas, Vice President for Corporate Planning and Organizational and System Development Office Shirley Domingo, SVP for Legal Services Sector Rodolfo del Rosario Jr., Supervising Health Program Officer Raul Badilla, SVP for Health Finance Policy Sector Israel Pargas, Corporate Legal Counsel Angelito Grande, Attorney IV for PhilHealth-National Capital Region Lawrence Mijares, Auditing Systems Specialist and Acting Senior Manager for Human Resources Leila Tuazon for lack of probable on the charges of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act 3019.

He also approved the dismissal of the complaint for grave misconduct, oppression, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service due to lack of substantial evidence.

The complainants—Miriam Pamonag, Jelbert Galicto, Dennis Adre, William Chavez, Paolo Perez, Khaliquzzman Macabato and Valerie Hollero—said the respondents filed and prosecuted “baseless” administrative cases against them “for the single unified purpose of oppressing and harassing.”

They accused that they were subjected to “unwarranted reassignments without their consent” and under preventive suspension.

They said the respondents filed administrative cases against them as a form of “retaliation” for their testimonies before the House of Representatives committee on good governance and public accountability; their filing of case against some PhilHealth board of directors with the Ombudsman, refusal to cooperate with the PhilHealth management on the accreditation of “fraudulent” health-care institutions, and for “being vocal” about policies threatening PhilHealth’s financial stability.

While Ferrer, Pargas, Basa, Badilla and Mijares denied any conspiracy and misconduct since they “merely performed the ordinary and regular functions of their office, the rest maintained they were not the disciplining authorities at that time.

The Ombudsman said “mere allegation of conspiracy is not enough; evidence must be adduced that the participants performed in an overt act.”

“Unless the contrary is proved by sufficient evidence, respondents enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions,” it added.

Topics: Office of the Ombudsman , PhilHealth , Samuel Martires , House of Representatives
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