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DOJ: No legal issue in transfer of PhilHealth to OP

There is no legal issue with the possible transfer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to the Office of the President (OP), according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“We advise that there is no legal issue on the possible transfer of PhilHealth to the OP as it is a legitimate exercise of the President’s power of control over the executive department, bureaus, and offices,” the DOJ said in a 6-page legal opinion dated June 26.

Citing the Administrative Code of the Philippines, the DOJ further said that the President has continuing authority to reorganize the OP.

“In addition, the President should have the power to shape and/or reshape its office, in the manner he deems fit to carry out his directive and policies, in order to achieve simplicity, economy, and efficiency in government,” the DOJ said.

The legal opinion stemmed from the request of Governance and Organization Development Team Undersecretary Kenneth Ronquillo on the agency’s possible transfer.

Ronquillo also asked the DOJ about the possible effect of the transfer on the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee, which oversees the Universal Health Care Act (UHC), and the composition of the PhilHealth Board of Directors.

Under the UHC, the National Health and Insurance Program (NHIP) was extended to all Filipinos regardless of premium payments.

According to the DOJ, the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee is responsible for implementing the NHIP and its plans while PhilHealth will submit to the President and Congress the annual report on its implementation.

Justice Undersecretary Raul Vasquez penned the legal opinion. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News