By Vann Marlo M. Villegas, Reporter

FILING OF cases against Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) officers and health care institutions allegedly involved in irregularities has been slow and low in number, according to the task force recently formed to look into anomalies in the state insurer.

In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Justice-led task force said thousands of cases previously investigated have yet to be filed.

Rodolfo B. Del Rosario, Jr., who has just resigned as PhilHealth senior vice president for the legal sector, confirmed in a closed-door hearing conducted by the task force on Tuesday that only 70 cases have been “processed” and only 50 resulted in formal charges against employees.

A case against the employees allegedly involved around P2.1 billion, according to the task force citing Mr. Del Rosario.

Mr. Del Rosario also reported that around 1,700 cases involve medical facilities over the period 2011 to 2019, and his office has reviewed and endorsed 1,300 for filing of criminal complaints by the regional offices.

“However, he admitted that only 11 cases as of date have been filed. Losses related to cases involving HCIs (health care institutions)  — which include fraudulent claims — were estimated at around P4.7B,” the task force said.

Mr. Del Rosario also said that the management policy favored settlement, instead of prosecution of cases and there are alleged limitations in resources in regional offices that prevented them from filing complaints against HCIs immediately.

The task force has created a team to probe the state-owned insurance company’s legal department.

PhilHealth’s legal sector received a zero rating in its evaluation for 2017 and 2018 from the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations due to delays in filing of cases.

Ricardo C. Morales, who was appointed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte last year as PhilHealth president and chief executive officer, resigned on Wednesday.

He earlier filed a medical leave amid investigations by the task force as well as in Congress, revealing that he is battling cancer.

The Senate found in its inquiry that there was gross overpricing of equipment procured by the agency and favoritism in releasing interim reimbursement mechanism funds to hospitals.

Thorsson Keith, a resigned PhilHealth anti-fraud legal officer, told a Senate hearing that the state-run insurance company’s executive committee members were allegedly involved in defrauding P15 billion from PhilHealth.

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said any resigned, retired, or dismissed officer may be held liable for any criminal act or omission committed during his or her tenure in office.

“Termination of service, except by death, is not a mode of extinguishing criminal liability under our penal code and criminal statutes,” he told reporters via Viber.