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Ombudsman clears PhilHealth officials

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The Office of the Ombudsman dismissed criminal and administrative cases against 11 former and incumbent officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) who faced several complaints filed by seven employees of the state insurer.

In a decision promulgated on Wednesday, Ombudsman Samuel Martires cleared former PhilHealth acting president Roy B. Ferrer, former interim president Celestina Ma. Jude de la Serna, COO Ruben John Basa,

Management Service Sector senior vice president Dennis Mas, Corporate Planning and Organizational and System Development Office vice president Shirley Domingo and Legal Services Sector Senior vice president Rodolfo del Rosario Jr. from charges of abuse of authority and graft and corruption.

Also acquitted were Raul Dominic I. Badilla (Supervising Health Program Officer); Israel Pargas (Health Finance Policy Sector Senior Vice President); Angelito Grande (Corporate Legal Counsel); Lawrence M. Mijares (Attorney IV); and Leila Tuazon (Acting Senior Manager of the Operations Audit Department and Human Resources Department).

The Ombudsman disclosed that there “insufficient evidence” to prove the complainants’ allegations that the officials accused filed “baseless administrative cases for the single unified purpose of oppressing and harassing complainants.”

The anti-graft court added that filing of administrative charges and preventive suspension against them was “part of their respective functions as officials of PhilHealth or by Board Resolutions directing them to perform such duties.”

It also explained that committing those actions cannot be seen as something intended to “commit a wrong against complainants” and added that while it is accurate that there were successive preventive suspensions filed against them by the officials, the evidence remains insufficient to prove that the accused acted in a conspiracy to cause injustice to them.

The complainants previously said that from September 2017 to May 2019, the accused allegedly filed “successive and exaggerated” administrative complaints with “unwarranted imposition of 90-day preventive suspension orders.”

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