President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday ordered the creation of an inter-agency task force that would probe allegations of corruption and irregularities at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
“The DOJ is hereby directed to organize a panel for the conduct of an investigation on the various allegations of corruption and anomalies in the PhilHealth,” Duterte said in his memo to the Department of Justice dated Aug. 7.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the task force will be composed of the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, Office of the Executive Secretary, Undersecretary Jesus Melchor Quitain of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.
Roque said the task force will have the power to conduct lifestyle checks on PhilHealth officials and issue preventive suspensions.
"Mga kababayan, huwag po kayong mag-alala, nakinig po ang ating Presidente at umakto bagama’t wala pa pong mapapatunayan sa lalong mabilis na panahon, mayroon naman pong preventive suspension na mapangalagaan ang kaban ng PhilHealth," Roque said.
Roque earlier said Duterte will not fire embattled PhilHealth chief Ricardo Morales despite allegations of resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud officer Thorsson Montes Keith that high-ranking officials were able to pocket as much as P15 billion.
The state insurer has lost due to fraud more than P153 billion since 2013, or “roughly 30% of the total claims payment of P512.6 billion” made in the same period, PACC commissioner Greco Belgica earlier said.
“There are investigations being conducted every year at the PhilHealth. But what baffles us is that nothing happens in the investigations,” Belgica added.