News Release

Office of the Ombudsman praised for role in PhilHealth probe

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Davao City on September 21, 2020. ARMAN BAYLON/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

DAVAO CITY—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has expressed elation Monday over good working relationship between the executive department and the Office of the Ombudsman particularly in going after corrupt officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

During his public address regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response, President Duterte praised the effort of the Office of the Ombudsman describing Ombudsman Samuel Martires as “a very reasonable man”.

“We do not really go to them to the — to ask for a decision either for or against anybody. We just want to expedite and cut the delay because that is really the — the strategy of a lawyer to prolong the case until such time na ‘yung complainant nawalaan ng hangin,” he said.

“But this, itong sa PhilHealth, iba ito kasi interesado ang gobyerno eh. And of course, as I have said, I’d like to commend the — it’s a very commendable act of the Ombudsman in trying to go out and help.”

“We need that kind of I said relationship with the Ombudsman. Iyon ang pinakamadaling ma-ano natin eh. And with his help, we can really expedite.”

The Office of the Ombudsman, along with the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Commission on Audit (COA), formed Task Force PhilHealth, an investigative body created by the President to probe abuses at the state-run corporation.

Last week, the task force recommended the filing of charges against the PhilHealth officials for violating several provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Article 213 the Revised Penal Code.

Among those facing charges are former PhilHealth Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ricardo Morales and other PhilHealth officials. PND