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Corruption angers new PhilHealth president/CEO, vows reforms in December

Special on Saturday host Cesar Chavez with guest PHILHEALTH President and CEO Dante Gierran

MANILA—The deeply rooted corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) has angered President Rodrigo Duterte’s newly appointed president and chief executive officer (CEO) at the same time as he vowed to initiate reforms to be visible starting December this year.

Lawyer Dante Gieran, also an accountant and retired director of the National Bureau Investigation (NBI), seethed with anger as he accused on September 19 the corrupt individuals involved in robbing the members of PhilHealth and the government of their contributions.

“Pera ng tao yan. Pera natin kasama ka dyan….May pera din dyan galing sa atin, na mismo na buwis. Dawang beses tayo kinunan ng pera. ‘Yong personal contribution natin at saka ‘yong pera nating buwis sa gobierno. May VAT dyan ang government sa PhilHealth. So, ang tanong, gising tayo, na inagawan ng mga halimaw na ito. Diyos ko, sa totoo lang, kung hindi lang, dapat magpapatay tao, ako na ang papatay sa mga bugok na ito e,” Gieran told DZRH Special On Saturday (SOS) host Cesar Chavez, as he expressed his anger towards individuals suspected of perpetrating the massive corruption in the PhilHealth.

(It’s people’s money. It’s our money including you…There’s money there from us, the taxes themselves. Twice the money was taken from us. Our personal contribution and the money from government taxes. The government has VAT in the PhilHealth. So, the question, let us wake up, these monsters are robbing us. My God, in truth, if not for it, it is not allowed to kill human, I will be the one to kill these scalawags.)

He said the PhilHealth losses from corruption since 2005 have been estimated to reach from P150-200 billion.

Gieran sees his stint in the PhilHealth, comparing it to his stint at the NBI, to be victorious “even if I only create a dent, just a dent to right the wrong” when Chavez asked him what he expects to accomplish in the PhilHealth in the last two years of the Duterte administration.

He acknowledged he cannot totally change the PhilHealth but he wants to ensure the investment of the people for their health and comply to President Duterte’s deadline of initiating reforms in the insurance agency until December.

Gieran is optimistic with the attitudes of the PhilHealth people to change the institution for the better that he said only needed an upright (matino) leader.

He said President Duterte has asked him to clean the mess at the PhilHealth because there is no other government agency that takes care of the sick under the socialized insurance corporation and submit to him the list of officials and employees of the agency to be reshuffled within 15 days upon assumption to office.

Gieran said he will do the reshuffle of personnel since “too much familiarity breeds corruption.”

He said the deeply rooted corruption at the PhilHealth involved a lot of people not only from the government but from the hospitals as well to accomplish such practices like upscaling or paying for a more serious illness from the actual ordinary illness.

“Ang mga tinatawag na mga kasong already passed on by the higher court, the Court of Appeals for instance, and it was already with judgment ay binabago pa pagdating sa PhilHealth. Wow. Ang mga tinatawag nilang unnecessary cataract operation, ‘yong tinatawag nila na asuwang dialysis, why asuwang, because ang word ay ghost dialysis,” Gieran said.

(The are cases that had already passed on by the higher court, the Court of Appeals for instance, and it was already with judgment that they changed when it reached PhilHealth. Wow. The one called unnecessary cataract operation, the asuwang dialysis, why asuwang because the word was ghost dialysis.)

He also cited the practice of paying hospitals without attachments of the abstract of patients’ illness which can easily be manipulated as well as the preferential treatment to some hospitals that he said he would check.

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