Press Release
August 12, 2020

With only 16 COA men deployed, "having more auditors is a vaccine vs corruption" PhilHealth needs

After admitting that it has only 16 auditors deployed at PhilHealth, Sen. Ralph Recto expects the Commission on Audit "to hang up 'help wanted' signs" to recruit accountants who will beef up the "COA detachment" in the embattled state health insurer.

"Kahit one auditor per region, kulang pa rin," the Senate President Pro Tempore said after COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo told senators that the agency had 16 auditors plus 1 administration staff assigned fulltime to PhilHealth.

"Auditors are like smoke detectors. PhilHealth is like a big building with hundreds of rooms, but only 16 are equipped with it," Recto said.

"If an agency spends more than P140 billion a year in batches of 35,000 claims a day from 8,500 hospitals and clinics, then you must have auditors more than what you can fit in a van," Recto said.

Recto said having more auditors who can do post-audit, fraud audit and performance audit "is one of the many anti-corruption vaccines that the PhilHealth would need."

But the big picture here is that there is a bureaucracy-wide lack of auditors, Recto admitted.

"It is not that COA does not have the license to hire. It has. In fact, COA has 5,782 job vacancies on its plantilla, including at least for 516 CPAs. The problem could be in the recruitment. Siguro, dapat na silang magkaroon ng job fair, in the aggressive way that BPOs hire talents," he said.

Aside from calling for a bigger "COA detachment", Recto had proposed the appointment of a resident Ombudsman and no presidential waivers of the GOCC Governance Commission's "fit-and-proper" rule for PhilHealth board members and senior executives.

He also called for the observance of the law requiring the PhilHealth President and CEO to possess 7 years experience in public health, an IT system that will make all PhilHealth transactions transparent, and the creation of a stronger and more independent "internal affairs" unit.

"'Yan ang kailangan sa loob ng PhilHealth. Circuit-breakers ng mga irregularities. Dapat wired 'yan sa sistema," Recto said.

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