Most of the P15-billion Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) fund that was believed to have been lost to corruption is not missing after all, the head of the state insurance agency said on Tuesday.
Dante Gierran, president and chief executive officer of PhilHealth, said 92 percent of the supposed missing funds have been “liquidated.”
“Sa totoo lang, hindi po nawawala, nandiyan lang. On record, ang utos po ng Senado at saka ng Lower House sabi i-liquidate. So, sa ngayon po, 92 percent na ang liquidated (The truth is, the funds are not missing. On record, the Senate and the House of Representatives told us to liquidate the funds. As of now, 92 percent have already been liquidated),” he said in a news briefing.
Gierran, former head of the National Bureau of Investigation, was recalled from retirement to replace Ricardo Morales who resigned amid the corruption scandal that broke out last August.
Thorrsson Montes Keith, the agency’s former antifraud officer, had claimed in a Senate hearing that some P15 billion were stolen from the agency by PhilHealth officials through various fraudulent schemes.
On Dec. 31, 2020, PhilHealth released a statement saying that 87 percent or P13.03 billion of the alleged missing fund had been liquidated.
PhilHealth insisted that contrary to Keith’s claim, the funds were not pocketed by some of its officials but were released to hospitals.
Gierran said PhilHealth recognizes the need to pay hospitals, health care providers as well as the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon.
He said the agency owes the Red Cross P300 million.
“So, sa totoo lang po, binabayaran naman po natin kaya lang all those submissions ng Red Cross ay subject to validation po (The truth is, we have been settling our obligations.
However, all submissions by the Red Cross are subject to validation),” Gierran said.
Earlier this month, Gordon said PhilHealth owes PRC P800 million.
Gierran attributed the slow payment to deficient applications.
PhilHealth spokesman Rey Baleña said the agency returned to the PRC a total of P103.4 million worth of claims due to insufficient details.
Last October, the PRC suspended the conduct of Covid-19 tests chargeable to PhilHealth after the latter failed to pay nearly P1 billion.