Probe on PhilHealth to be Senate’s top agenda

SENATOR Panfilo "Ping" Lacson confirmed that the inquiry on alleged corruption and mismanagement of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) funds will be the top agenda of the Senate once they resume their session on July 27, Monday.

Lacson said he is set to file a resolution calling for a Senate Committee of the Whole inquiry on the new allegations against Philhealth.

"Unabated corruption and mismanagement of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) funds has been a topic of discussion among Senate President (Tito) Sotto and me, along with some senators from the majority bloc, for quite some time now," Lacson stressed.

"But the reported shouting match in a recent virtual conference between the PhilHealth president and some board members involving almost P1 billion worth of questionable transactions, including a total overprice of P98 million - if true, says it all," he added.

Lacson further said that corruption occurred amid the COVID-19 crisis makes it more disgusting and abominable.

"Nakakasuya na sobra. Needless to say, there is urgency that the Senate has to act on the matter immediately, as part of its oversight mandate, having passed the Universal Health Law," he stressed.

When the Senate investigated issues surrounding PhilHealth and the Department of Health - including instances of conflict of interest involving the family of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III with the family-owned Doctors Pharmaceuticals Inc. having contracts with the Department of Health, and the PhilHealth regional office renting a Duque-owned building; and with the Secretary's pattern of failure prompting 14 senators to file a resolution seeking his resignation, Lacson admitted that they had high hopes the shenanigans at PhilHealth would end with a new leadership.

"Sad to say, how wrong we were," he concluded.