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SC upholds CA order disallowing P15M PhilHealth allowances

March 1, 2023 Hector Lawas 205 views

THE Supreme Court has ruled that the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) must disallow the grant of more than P15-million worth of allowances to its employees.

The ruling upholds a previous decision by the Commission on Audit (COA) which found the allowances to be irregular expenditures.

According to records, PhilHealth Regional Office (RO) IV-A received various notices of disallowance (NDs) covering the transportation allowance, project completion incentive, and educational assistance allowance paid to regular and contractual employees for 2009 and 2010.

The COA found that the transportation allowance and project completion incentive given to PhilHealth contractual employees were irregular expenditures, and the educational assistance allowance given to regular employees was in violation of the 2009 and 2010 General Appropriation Acts.

PhilHealth appealed the decision, but the COA RO IV-A Regional Director and the COA Commission Proper both denied their appeals, leading PhilHealth to take the matter to the SC.

However, the high court ruled that there was no legal basis for the grant of the disallowed amounts and that recipients of the disallowed benefits are bound to return the amounts, regardless of whether or not they received them in good faith.

In a decision written by Associate Justice Rodil V. Zalameda, the SC emphasized that PhilHealth’s power to fix salaries and allowances is still subject to relevant guidelines and policies that may be issued by the President.

PhilHealth’s fiscal autonomy under the National Health Insurance Act of 1995 “is not absolute and cannot be the sole basis for the grant of benefits or allowances.”