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Whistleblower claims Gordon liable for Red Cross, PhilHealth 'deal'

The PhilHealth whistleblower has dragged Philippine Red Cross chairman and Senator Richard Gordon into another supposed anomalous deal between the state health insurer and the non-profit organization.

Former Philhealth anti-fraud officer Atty. Thorrsson Montes Keith indicated in an ANC interview that a transaction between PhilHealth and the PRC  could result in Gordon's indictment  for “undue injury” to the government.

“I think Senator Gordon is trying to seek help from a more powerful person by just announcing that one," Keith said when asked for his reaction on Gordon's recommendation that officials of the Aquino administration be charged for alleged PhilHealth irregularities.

"Based on my investigation, he could also be indicted from this PhilHealth mess because Red Cross had a deal with PhilHealth which could have caused a gross undue injury to the government which could amount to a crime,” he added.

Keith said the deal involved the controversial interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) which PhilHealth uses to provide funds to hospitals and healthcare facilities in advance for insurance claims.

“The money that was used is PhilHealth’s money. The money given to Red Cross, a non-profit organization and the chairman is a senator," Keith said.

"He’s a government official so he should know that making an agreement which creates undue injury to the government is punishable by law,” he added.

Keith said Red Cross received an initial P100 million from PhilHealth but Gordon said the state health insurer still owed the organization.

“The first phase was P100 million and there (are) other hundreds of million later paid to them which was onerous to the government. It was not helping the government. It is burdening the government,” Keith said.

“I think from the last I heard around P350 million then I heard Senator Gordon saying PhilHealth still owes them so how come? How come the Red Cross has no capacity for this?” he added.

He claimed the alleged anomaly happened between March and May this year.

GMA News Online has sought Gordon for comment but has yet to receive any as of posting time.

Gordon in mid-August said Red Cross would "most likely" suspend its COVID-19 testing after PhilHealth failed to pay its remaining balances to the organization.

He said the Red Cross would discontinue conducting COVID-19 tests to those whose payments will be charged to PhilHealth until it pays its balances, which reached P700.5 million.

“Aabot na sa isang bilyon[g piso] ang utang ng PhilHealth sa Red Cross. Pagkatapos nilang magbigay ng advanced payment na P100 million noon, paunti-unti na lang ang pagbabayad nila," Gordon said.

"Hindi naman pupuwedeng ganoon dahil kailangan din namin ng pambili ng materials para sa testing at pambayad sa mga tao. Kung hindi sila makapagbabayad hanggang Monday, ititigil muna namin ang testing,” he added. -Ma. Angelica Garcia/BAP/NB, GMA News