“Tapusin ang dapat tapusing imbestigasyon. At kasuhan ang mga dapat makasuhan. Hindi natin palalampasin ang mga ganitong pagnanakaw at paglulustay sa pera ng taumbayan. Pera ito na dapat sana ay magamit pa sa mga tunay na nangangailangan nating mga kababayan.”

These are words uttered by Senator-elect Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go in a press conference today as he clarified certain issues regarding the alleged Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) fraud scandal.

Last week, a certain Edwin Roberto, former assistant manager of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center Corp. in Novaliches, Quezon City, revealed that WellMed was forging the signatures of its dead patients in filing the fraudulent claims, spanning 2016 until 2018.

Under the scheme, the clinic received payments from PhilHealth for dialysis treatments even though some of the patients have long been dead.

Go expressed disappointment stating that the government fund must be used in a proper way as many Filipinos are sick and relying to the government for medical assistance. He also vowed to help in investigating the said anomaly.

“Iimbestigahan po natin ang issue sa PhilHealth. Unang-una ang dami po na pasyente ang lumalapit sakin, humihingi ng tulong, kawawa naman ang mga pasyente, namamatay na lang po. Nakakahiya at nakakabastos ito sa milyon-milyong Pilipinong may sakit na umaasa sa gobyerno para sa tulong medikal tapos malalaman natin na pinakikinabangan lang ng ilan ang perang dapat gamitin para mailigtas ang buhay nila. Nakaka-galit na may mga taong ganito na walang malasakit sa kapwa nilang Pilipino,” he said.

Go also shared to the media that President Rodrigo Duterte asked PhilHealth officials to submit their courtesy resignation. The President is also scheduled to meet the officials today to personally hear their side regarding the issue.

“Dapat hindi nila hinayaan na makalusot ‘yan sa kamay nila, dapat noon pa sinilip na nila. Command responsibility po ito ng mga opisyales ng PhilHealth. The Duterte Administration will never tolerate any form of graft and corruption. Hihikayatin ko ang mga kasamahan ko sa Senado na suriin at pag-aralan kung paano pa natin mapaigting ang kampanya laban sa mga ganitong anomaly,” he said.

The Senator-elect also reiterated that if he will be given the opportunity to handle the health committee, he will never allow such incident to happen again.

“Hindi po katanggap-tanggap ito na mayroong patay na nag-claim pa rin ng pera ng taumbayan. Kaya kung ibibigay sakin ang health committee hindi po ako papayagan na mayroon pang mangyari na ganito,” he said.

Go aims to strengthen anti fraud mechanisms particularly in Philhealth to make sure that funds for healthcare is used properly for the sick and needy. 

Likewise, Go emphasized that it is everyone’s responsibility to protect the fund of the government, stating “Responsibilidad nating lahat na protektahan ang kaban ng bayan, lalo na ang pondo na dapat sana ay mapunta sa tunay na nangangailangan. Sa bawat pekeng transaksyon na binabayaran ng PhilHealth ay nababawasan ang pondo nito na maaaring gamitin sana para makaligtas ng buhay ng may sakit.” 

“Sa mga manlolokong ito, may araw rin kayo! Hindi lang gobyerno ang ninanakawan ninyo kundi ang mga mahal natin sa buhay na may sakit,” he added.

One of the priorities of Go is to study possible mechanisms to make the government more responsive and efficient, avoiding wastage in the use of public funds, and to provide venues for citizen participation so that the private sector can be part of the anticorruption drive. 

It can be remembered that as former special assistant to the President, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the Office of the Special Assistant to the President (OSAP) have formed a coalition composed of private individuals who will assist authorities probe suspected corrupt government officials.

“Nanawagan po ako kung mayroon kayo gustong isumbong, sinabi ko na po na I will not limit myself on being legislator only. Gusto ko po tulungan si Pangulong Duterte ukol sa kampanya laban sa kriminalidad, ilegal na droga, at korapsyon. Kasama ko po si Greco Belgica, commissioner po siya ng PACC at mayroon po kaming truth and justice coalition. Rest assured po na lahat ng sumbong niyo with all confidentiality. Tulungan po natin si Pangulo,” he stated.

Moreover, Go is studying the proposal to possibly impose higher penalties for all corruption-related crimes. He also said that he will bring the issue of PhilHealth anomaly in the Senate for further investigation.

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