Press Release
September 3, 2020

Drilon nixes emergency power to solve PhilHealth mess
The Senate chief fiscalizer says Congress, through GOCC Governance Act, has already delegated to the President the power to reorganize PhilHealth

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon thumbed down a proposal by administration lawmakers in the House of Representatives to grant the President emergency powers to reform and reorganize Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

"There is no use for emergency powers. We will oppose it in the Senate. The President can reform and reorganize PhilHealth without emergency powers from Congress," Drilon said in a statement on Thursday.

"The President has vast power under the Constitution and existing laws to reorganize and solve corruption in PhilHealth. He appoints the members of the Board. He can file administrative and criminal cases against erring and corrupt officials. He can order the suspension or transfer of personnel in the entire executive," Drilon said.

Drilon cited the law that he authored, the GOCC Governance Act or Republic Act 10149, which grants vast power to the President, through the Governance Council for GOCCs (GCG), to reform and reorganize GOCCs.

"Congress has already delegated to the President, by virtue of RA 10149, the power to reorganize PhilHealth," Drilon said.

Drilon explained that under RA 10149, the reorganization, merger or streamlining of government-owned and-controlled corporations (GOCC), such as PhilHealth, can be implemented. In fact, he added, the President can abolish or privatize GOCCs without going to Congress.

Section 5 (a) of the GOCC law provides that the Governance Council for GOCCs (GCG) has the power to "evaluate the performance and determine the relevance of the GOCC, to ascertain whether such GOCC should be reorganized, merged, streamlined, abolished or privatized."

Upon determination by the GCG that it is to the best interest of the State that a GOCC should be reorganized, merged, streamlined, abolished or privatized, it shall implement the reorganization, merger or streamlining of the GOCC, unless otherwise directed by the President.

It may also recommend to the President the abolition or privatization of the GOCC, and upon the approval of the President, implement such abolition or privatization.

Drilon also cited Section 31 of Executive Order 292 which provides for the continuing authority of the President to reorganize his Office. The EO states that "the President, subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency, shall have continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of the Office of the President."

The minority leader said the GCG should exercise its mandates under the law.

"RA. 10149 was intended to reform the government corporate sector, improve corporate governance of GOCCs, and exact from them efficient and effective public service," Drilon said.

He proposed amendments to the Committee of the Whole report on PhilHealth for the GCG to exercise its powers over PhilHealth.

"The GCG as the governing body for government corporations must actively and decisively perform its mandate as a central advisory, monitoring and oversight body of Philhealth. It must ensure that PhilHealth shall function and operate as an accountable GOCC within the corporate governance standards and principles of RA 10149," he added.

In particular, Drilon wants the GCG to identify the necessary skills and qualifications required for appointive directors to the PhilHealth, and consider the suitability and qualifications of the candidates before submitting its recommendations to the President pursuant to Section 5e of R.A. 10149.

"The fit and proper rule should be strictly applied - the directors must be chosen based on their integrity, experience, education, training and competence, among others. This is to ensure that only the most competent people are appointed as Directors of the national insurance agency," Drilon said.

Drilon said that GCG must make sure that the appointments are compliant with the Universal Health Care law which requires that the President of PhilHealth and members of the board be experts in the fields of public health, management, finance, and health economics. Drilon said the GCG should conduct periodic evaluation and assessment of the performance of the PhilHealth, require reports on the operations and management of the Corporation, particularly on the management of its assets and finances as provided under Section 5g of R.A. 10149,

Lastly, Drilon said the GCG must review and implement the limits to compensation, per diems, allowances and incentives of the members of the board of directors of PhilHealth as provided under section 23 of R.A. 10149.

News Latest News Feed