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Cases vs Asec Ferrer, 4 Philhealth execs junked




THE Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the cases filed against Health Assistant Secretary Roy B. Ferrer, in relation to his being the former acting president and chief executive officer of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth), and four others over the removal of an official of the government corporation from her position during an election period.

Penned on January 22 but released on May 28, a copy of which was obtained by TIMES, the ruling said Ferrer and the others cannot be accused of violating the law as the entity sought the approval of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to move personnel during the period.

Aside from Ferrer, others who were respondents in the cases were Ruben John A. Basa, executive vice president and chief operating officer; Clementine A. Bautista, Area IV vice president; Angelito A. Grande, corporate legal counsel; and, Eugenio A. Donatos II, Philhealth XII officer in charge.

The cases were for usurpation of authority of official functions under Section 177 of the Revised Penal Code and grave misconduct, oppression, and conduct prejudicial to the best of the service.

The complaint was filed by Dr. Miriam Grace G. Pamonag on August 28, 2019 who claimed her rights were violated when Ferrer issued an order removing her as regional vice president of Philhealth XII on January 23, 2019.

There was insufficiency of evidence, the ruling said, pointing out that in the complaint filed against Ferrer and the others, “(they) cannot be considered to have performed any act pertaining to any person in authority or public official of the Philippine government, any of its agencies, or of a foreign government, under pretense of official function and without being entitled to do so.”

It pointed out that as early as November 27, 2018 until January 19, 2019, Philhealth “already sought from Comelec for the continuing authority to appoint and transfer personnel during the election period.” The Comelec, the ruling added, approved the request of the Philhealth on January 25, 2019.

The resolution was signed by the Special Panel of Investigators of the Office of the Ombudsman that included Graft Investigators and Prosecutors Leilani Tagulao-Marquez, Renato A. Peralta Jr., Rose F. Ventayen-Vallejo, Voltaire B. Africa, and Jinky A. Anarna.

In the hearing before the Senate, former Phihealth board member Roberto Salvador, who was granted immunity in the hearing, identified Pamonag as among those members of an influential group, referred in the hearing as Mindanao group even if they were not all from Mindanao.

Others that Salvador named included Valerie Hollero, assistant corporate secretary; Paolo Johann Perez, Mimaropa regional vice president; William Chavez, former Central Visayas regional vice president; Khaliquzzaman Macabato, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional vice president; Dennis Adre – Soccsksargen regional vice president; Jelbert Galicto, Caraga office legal officer; and, Masidling Alonto, Northern Mindanao regional vice president.

Sen. Richard Gordon, who spearheaded the investigation, said that the regional vice presidents wielded power that if someone threatened them of being assigned or removed from their posts, they would file cases.

Gordon added that Ferrer, who introduced automation in the agency, earned the ire of the group that resulted in the filing of cases filed against him.


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