FORMER congressman Harry Roque Jr. has filed before the Office of the Ombudsman complaints for graft and misconduct in office against 11 officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) over what he claimed was an alleged irregular modification of a three-month suspension slapped against a Cebu hospital.
In his 24-page complaint affidavit, Roque sought the respondent PhilHealth officials’ dismissal from government service for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Likewise, he asked the Ombudsman to indict them for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019).
Named respondents were former PhilHealth CEO and acting president Roy Ferrer; former PhilHealth Board directors Ruperto Aleroza, Eddie Dorotan, Joan Cristine Reina Liban-Lareza, Hildegardes Dineros, Roberto Salvador Jr., Anthony Leachon; Department of Health assistant secretary Charade Mercado-Grande; Board of Directors corporate secretary Jonathan Mangaoang; OIC corporate secretary Lora Mangasar; and the Perpetual Succour Hospital of Cebu Inc.
Roque said he filed the complaint as a PhilHealth member, taxpayer and principal author of the Universal Health Care Act (RA 11223).
Based on Roque’s narrative, the Cebu hospital underwent investigation by the Philhealth Prosecution Department in 2011 for allegedly refusing to discharge two patients from confinement despite having been allowed by the attending physician to go home.
The case was for “extension of confinement period” punishable under Section 142, Rule 28 of the Implementing Rules and regulations of the National Health Insurance Act of 1995 (RA 7875).
On March 20, 2015, the Arbitration Department of PhilHealth issued a decision finding the hospital liable for the complaint and imposing a three-month suspension against it on top of a P10,000 fine.
This ruling was upheld by the PhilHealth Board of Directors on March 30, 2016 with an additional directive to Perpetual Succour to refund any payment made by the PhilHealth for the claims in the said patients’ cases.
It was likewise affirmed en toto by the Court of Appeals on October 30, 2017.
However, on December 5, 2017, the PhilHealth Board issued Resolution No. 2334 S. 2017 which modified the original penalty of suspension to payment of maximum fine.