Ombudsman junks cases filed by employees vs. 11 PhilHealth officials

By CNN Philippines Staff

The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed criminal and administrative cases against 11 officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, who were sued in 2019 by several employees of the agency.

In a decision released to the media on Wednesday, Ombudsman Samuel Martires acquitted the following former and current officials for “insufficient evidence” that they are guilty of abuse of authority, as well as of graft and corruption:

– Roy Ferrer

– Celestina Ma. Jude dela Serna

– Ruben John Basa

– Dennis Mas

– Shirley Domingo

– Rodolfo del Rosario, Jr.

– Raul Dominic Badilla

– Israel Pargas

– Angelito Grande

– Lawrence Mijares

– Leila Tuazon

They were suspended by Martires in August last year after being accused of successively filing “baseless” administrative cases against seven employees from 2017 to 2019. The employees alleged these were done “for the single unified purpose of oppressing and harassing them.”

They added they were subjected to unwarranted reassignments without their consent.

According to the seven complainants, the officials did these as “retaliation” after they themselves sued several executives before the Ombudsman, as well as testified on possible areas of graft and corruption within the agency before the House of Representatives.

The employees also said the cases against them were filed after they refused to “cooperate” with the management on the accreditation of fraudulent healthcare institutions.

The Ombudsman, however, ruled it cannot be established that the 11 acted in conspiracy and with intent to cause injustice to the complainants. It added it cannot be said the filing of cases and the reassignment have caused undue injury.

“Unless the contrary is proved by sufficient evidence, respondents enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions,” it said.

The preventive suspension of the 11 officials last year came amid an ongoing probe into alleged corruption within the state health insurer, following accusations officials have stolen some ₱15 billion using different fraudulent schemes.

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