This is the kind of issue that merits condemnation from anybody, whatever one’s political persuasions may be.
Earlier this month we heard allegations that the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., the government body tasked to provide universal healthcare insurance to Filipinos, was paying money to private dialysis centers for treating patients who had either completed their prescribed treatments, or who had died.
A former employee of WellMed Dialysis & Laboratory Center Corp. said PhilHealth had been approving and releasing payments for ghost patients.
On Monday, Bryan Sy, WellMed owner, was arrested, and the Justice department indicted him and two others—including the former employee who had exposed the scam—Friday for estafa through falsification of documents.
President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his disgust at the scandal, and has said PhilHealth’s structure may be revamped to ensure no similar scams happen in the future.
The President has asked PhilHealth acting president and CEO Roy Ferrer and other Board members to resign, even as some quarters are questioning why Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has been spared.
It would be a stretch of the imagination to expect these officials to resign out of the principle of command responsibility, whether they were directly involved or blissfully unaware of the modus. In this part of the world, resignation is looked upon as a weakness or a tacit admission of guilt or failure.
The near-universal reaction to the unconscionable act of directing much-needed medical funds to the pockets of the scheming parties is to be expected. What decent person robs truly sick people of the help they badly need? What bears watching, however, is the action undertaken long after the outrage has been trained on other issues. Will the responsible parties be brought to justice, regardless of their positions or connections? Will better structures and processes ensure that scams like these will be prevented in the future?
Too-loud condemnation that does not give way to real solutions is a lasting malady, indeed.