Health Secretary Francisco Duque yesterday vowed to cooperate in the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) probe into the multibillion-peso bogus claims paid by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to dialysis treatment centers.
Duque, who sits as chairman of the PhilHealth board, made the commitment as he met with Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and NBI Director Dante Gierran in the Department of Justice (DoJ) early yesterday morning.
“Secretary Duque requested the meeting to express his willingness and readiness, as PhilHealth chair, to cooperate with and extend assistance to the NBI in the conduct of its expanded investigation of alleged ghost claims filed with PhilHealth,” Guevarra said.
The DoJ chief welcomed Duque’s cooperation, which would allow NBI probers access to documents from PhilHealth relevant to the controversy.
“The NBI will first examine the relevant documents pertaining to payment of fraudulent claims, and then determine who will be summoned for investigation,” he explained.
Guevara earlier tapped the NBI to conduct a fact-finding probe and determine involvement of other dialysis clinics and hospitals as well as other PhilHealth executives in the alleged scam that allegedly cost the government P154 billion in funds.
He said PhilHealth officials led by president and CEO Roy Ferrer who recently tendered their courtesy resignation would be covered by the probe.
Apart from Ferrer, the six other PhilHealth Board members who resigned were Jack Arroyo, elected local chief executive; Rex Maria Mendoza, independent director of the Monetary Board; Hildegardes Dineros of the information economy sector; Celestina Ma. Jude dela Serna of the Filipino overseas workers sector; Roberto Salvador of the formal economy sector; and Joan Cristine Reina Liban-Lareza of the health care provider sector.
“The NBI is looking into the possibility that certain PhilHealth officials may be charged for violation of the Anti-Graft Law if they knowingly participated in this allegedly fraudulent schemed and benefitted from it,” Guevarra stressed.