Villanueva hits lack of checks, balance in Department of Health

CITIZENS Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list Representative-elect Bro. Eddie Villanueva yesterday slammed the alleged lack of checks and balance in the Department of Health (DoH) to prevent potential graft and corruption in the sound use of government’s health insurance funds.

Villanueva, founder and leader of the Jesus is Lord Church Worldwide (JIL), condemned officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and WellMed Dialysis Center who might be involved in the alleged P800-million “ghost dialysis” claims.

“It is important to file criminal actions against the people who knowingly or unknowingly allow this problem to take place and continue in exploiting people’s hard-earned money. As the Universal Health Care Law is being implemented, we are mandated to ensure the proper allocation of funds to secure that those Filipinos who are truly in need of government services are rightfully served,” added Villanueva.

“With respect to the rule of law, we call for an investigation to take place regarding this scam so that those responsible are rightfully put behind bars. We will not allow real and needy patients be robbed of the benefits and medical treatments while those who are liable for such corrupt practices remain at large,” said Villanueva.

In a related development, Anakalusugan party-list Representative-elect Mike Defensor said the alleged bogus kidney dialysis scam is not isolated, citing the “pneumonia scam” that has been plaguing the PhilHealth.

“We are well aware of the ‘pneumonia scam’ that occurs in PhilHealth. While last year, the Department of Health claimed that there was no pneumonia epidemic, P10 billion was paid by PhilHealth to hospitals and other healthcare providers,” said Defensor, adding the alleged dialysis scam is worse than plunder.

“Stealing from PhilHealth is worse than plunder! Every centavo stolen means depriving another person’s life. This is also gross negligence on the part of PhilHealth personnel who allowed this to happen. All persons involved in this scam must be held accountable and meted out the highest penalties provided by law. Those who usurp funds meant for the sick and the needy should be arrested and charged to prevent future occurrences of this nature,” said Defensor.

As head of the Department of Health (DoH), Duque also serves as ex-officio chair of the PhilHealth.

It was reported that Duque was one of WellMed vice president Bryan Christopher Sy’s wedding godfathers in 2014.

Sy along with nine others were charged by the Bureau of National Investigation (NBI) with estafa and falsification of documents before the Department of Justice (DoJ) in connection with the alleged dialysis scam.