State auditors have told the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to return unused Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) totaling P7.739 million to the national treasury.
The Supreme Court (SC) declared PDAF, or the pork barrel allocation of lawmakers, unconstitutional in 2013.
In a 2014 audit report on PhilHealth, the Commission on Audit (COA) said PDAF of P301.672 million received from calendar years (CYs) 2010 to 2013 for payment of health insurance premium counterpart of a sponsored program implemented by PhilHealth was not fully utilized because of the absence of the list of enrolees corresponding to the PhilHealth insurance premium of P7.739 million.
As of December 31, 2014, according to COA, the amount remained unrefunded to the National Treasury.
PDAF was previously allocated to lawmakers for the implementation of projects and programs that will benefit their constituents.
One of the priority programs, COA said, is the Universal Health Care (UHC) of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) implemented by PhilHealth.
The local government unit (LGU) and the legislator identify the families for enrolment in the NHIP and share the annual health insurance premium of P2,400 payable to PhilHealth, it added.
Generally, the audit body said, the sharing is on a 50-50 basis, i.e., P1,200 to be paid by the LGU and the other P1,200 by the legislator.
From CYs 2010 to 2013, PhilHealth received PDAF of P301.672 million from a senator and 90 congressmen, it added.
Upon review of the status report of the consolidated PDAF as of December 31, 2014, COA found that there was unused PDAF amounting to P839,000.
The amount pertained to the enrolment of 39,258 families where the actual health insurance premium was P58.919 million while the amount of PDAF received was P59.758 million, the auditors said.
COA observed that there were instances that PDAF was released without the corresponding list of the constituents or enrolees.
“Until the list is submitted, PhilHealth could not effect any health insurance coverage even if the fund is available. From CYs 2010 to 2013, PhilHealth-Ntional Capital Region (Metro Manila) received PDAF in the amount of P6.9 million without identified enrolees,” the auditors said.
Thus, the unutilized fund amounted to P7.739 million including the above-mentioned P839,000 as of year-end 2014, according to the audit report.
In the same audit report, COA also observed that collecting P273.941 million receivables due from the PDAF of various lawmakers for CYs 2012 to 2013 is no longer assured because the SC already declared PDAF unconstitutional.
“Records show that the receivable due from LGUs/legislators amounted to P273.941 million as of December 31, 2014. Since PDAF was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, collection of the amount is no longer probable,” the report said.
The auditors noted other deficiencies in their review of PDAF.
“Some PDAF were released after the expiry date of the SAROs [Special Allotment Release Orders] and these were used to enrol sponsored members,” they said and enumerated seven SAROs totaling P6.783 million.
The auditors added, “PhilHealth continued to receive/utilize the PDAF despite the declaration of the SC on November 19, 2013 that the fund is unconstitutional.”
Based on the audit report, the sum received after the SC ruling was P3,518,500.
PhilHealth was also told to “refund to the National Treasury the PDAF in the amount of P3.519 million received after it [PDAF] has been declared unconstitutional.”
While PhilHealth said it was concurring with the Audit Observation Memorandum on the excess payment of P7.739 million, “the national data show more arrearages amounting to P273.941 million.”