THE Department of Justice has been ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte to form a task force to investigate accusations linking officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to massive corruption.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra acknowledged receipt of the Malacañang memorandum, which ordered the preventive suspension of any PhilHealth official included in the investigation.
"We shall base our actions on such facts as may be established and such conclusions as may be reasonably inferred therefrom," Guevarra said when asked by reporters for comment on the Palace memorandum.
Thorsson Montes Keith, anti-legal fraud officer of the agency, recently blew the whistle on his colleagues alleging “widespread corruption in PhilHealth. ” He earlier quit his post.
The Senate Committee of the Whole has been conducting a formal inquiry into the PhilHealth fund mess.
During the almost 10-hour-long inquiry, senators questioned PhilHealth officials over the following issues:
-- a proposed P2.1-billion information technology project, which even state auditors had earlier flagged as overpriced
-- a supposedly questionable release of funds under the corporation’s Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM)
-- the alleged manipulation of the corporation’s financial status.