Philhealth IT Projects Overpriced, Adobe Software Costs P21 Million Each
PHILHEALTH ANOMALIES – The Commission on Audit (COA) revealed that Philhealth’s IT Department had Adobe Software costing P21 Million each.
Based on an article from Inquirer, Philhealth had a P2.1 billion budget for its information technology project. However, according to the COA, the entirety of Philhealth’s IT Project had questionable purchases designed to stem fraud and corruption.
Among the most notable purchases which irked IT personnel was the price of Adobe software. These powerful tools usually cost quite a hefty price at around P168,000 per unit. But, it was documented to be worth over 12,400% more at P21 million per unit.
Meanwhile, internal auditors reported having a “syndicate” who was pulling the strings from behind the scenes. Aside from the software, several components of the IT project were also flagged as “anomalous”. Various equipment amounting to P734 million was planned to be precured but were not included in the original budget proposal.
The sources reporting the anomalies said the irregularities in the IT project was one of the reasons why lawyer Thorrsson Montes Keith quit as Philhealth’s antifraud officer. According to Keith, the state-run Health Insurance Corp. had “widespread corruption”.
In April, PhilHealth senior vice president and chief information officer Jovita Aragona called for the procurement of P750 million worth of IT equipment. Afterward, she asked for the disbursement of another P215 million just a few weeks later.
But, resident auditors of the state-run insurance company demanded an internal audit on the existing equipment and software before approving the proposal. However, Aragona did not present the internal report.
Last year, Inquirer conducted an investigative report on Philhealth which revealed a P154 billion loss through several forms of fraud. This included reimbursements for “ghost dialysis”, overpayments, false claims, and “up casing” of common ailments.
But, a year later, the same songs of corruption were still being sung from inside Philhealth’s walls. As per the article, an unnamed source from Inquirer said he already submitted the reports to Philhealth CEO Ricardo Morales and Health Secretary Francisco Duque.