MANILA, Philippines – The Senate is looking to start next week its investigation into the alleged anomalies within the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 475 urging the upper chamber to convene as a Committee of the Whole to look into the alleged widespread corruption, incompetence, and inefficiency that may lead to the financial collapse of the state-run health insurance agency.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the chamber will constitute as a Committee of the Whole because the scope of the probe is “too wide.”
“Hindi lang tungkol sa health, hindi lang tungkol sa PhilHealth, hindi lang tungkol sa violations at investigations of public officials,” Sotto said in an online press conference.
Under Senate rules, all senators are given voting rights on issues during the legislative hearing once the chamber convenes as a Committee of the Whole.
Sotto said around four to five witnesses are expected to appear in the hearing to provide evidence on alleged irregularities in the agency.
The probe comes after PhilHealth officer, Atty. Thorrson Montes Keith resigned from his post due to supposed rampant corruption in the agency. He also cited the “unconstitutional” mandatory payment of Philhealth for overseas workers as among the reasons for his resignation.
Despite the allegations, Philhealth President and Chief Executive Officer General Ricardo Morales still continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of President Rodrigo Duterte according to Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
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