COA to ex-PhilHealth execs: Return P51M in unauthorized perks
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) ordered former Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) officials to return unauthorized perks amounting to P51.18 million given in 2010.
In its decision released on Friday, October 5, state auditors found that PhilHealth failed to get prior approval as stated in Presidential Decree No. 1597 for the bonuses and allowances worth P51,183,759.04 paid out between January to December 2010.
COA noted that the top officials, including then agency president and CEO Rey Aquino, exercised discretionary powers. This means they, together with approving and certifying officers, "remain solidarily liable for the disallowance."
"The main source of Philheath's operating budget is the contribution of its members," COA said. "Like any other social insurance, the members' contributions are treated as a trust fund and thus, should be managed and protected with utmost integrity."
Aside from the P51.18 million given to top officials, PhilHealth regular employees also received P49.729 million, regular contractors got P1.095 million, and project-based employees received P380,000.
They, however, are not required to return the money received because they were "merely passive recipients."
"In this case, there are no indicia of bad faith that can be ascribed to regular and contractual employees under the facts and circumstances of the case," COA said.
This is not the first notice of disallowance given to PhilHealth. Just last August 2018, COA affirmed its decision denying the appeals made by agency officials to lift the disallowances on the unauthorized bonuses and allowances. – Rappler.com