Duterte wants clean slate in PhilHealth administration

WellMed Dialysis Center owner Bryan Sy was brought to the Department of Justice for an inquest on June 11. | Philstar.com photo by Edu Punay

Officials asked to submit resignation amid reports of fraud

Senator-elect Christopher “Bong” Go on Monday, June 10, said President Rodrigo Duterte has asked officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to submit their courtesy resignations amid reports of fraudulent claims.

He also said that the PhilHealth officials were scheduled to resign during a meeting on Monday, June 10.

Duterte relayed the instructions for PhilHealth officials through Go, who is set to head the Senate’s health committee in the upcoming 18th Congress.

“The president wants a clean slate in the PhilHealth administration. It should also be clear how the fraudulent claims went on for a long time under the administration of current officials. The president has asked the NBI to investigate the incident as soon as possible,” Go said in Filipino.

“For now, plantilla officials will temporarily run the agency, which will be placed under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President,” he added.

Go said Duterte is considering a nationwide revamp of PhilHealth as well as firing regional officials.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said PhilHealth will continue its operations amid scandal.

“There is zero tolerance on corruption under this administration. There will be an in-depth study on how the frauds are systematically committed by unscrupulous persons in and out of PhilHealth. There will be criminal prosecutions of all those involved. No one will be spared,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement.

Ghost claims

Last week, Edwin Roberto, a former employee of WellMed clinic revealed that the clinic filed “ghost” claims to PhilHealth, as reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Under the scheme, which involved bogus insurance claims allegedly amounting to more than P100 billion, WellMed clinic received payments from PhilHealth for dialysis treatments of some patients that have long been dead.

Dr. Brian Sy, owner of the WellMed Dialysis Center in Quezon City, for his part, claimed that the former employees of the clinic were the ones behind the fraudulent claims.

Sy was arrested on Monday after showing up at the National Bureau of Investigation  headquarters in Manila, as per Duterte’s orders.

Duterte earlier said that he does “not have the slightest doubt about the integrity and honesty” of PhilHealth President Roy Ferrer — having been the one to appoint him last year — but the loss of around P100 billion is “totally, totally unacceptable” to him.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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