The Archdiocese of Manila on Wednesday, August 26, denied reports linking it to alleged anomalies involving missing funds of the government’s Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or PhilHealth.
In a statement, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of Manila, said the archdiocese has had no part in the daily operations of Cardinal Santos Medical Center since 1988.
The prelate said the Archbishop of Manila is only the “registered owner” of the property where the hospital stands.
Bishop Pabillo said the archdiocese has engaged the services of the Hospital Management Managers, Inc. (HMI) “to professionally manage and operate” the hospital since August 1, 1988.
On August 25, legislators investigating alleged anomalies in PhilHealth said charges might be filed against the Archdiocese of Manila and HMI.
The legislators said a former PhilHealth official and former executives of Cardinal Santos Medical Center could be held liable for plunder over a settlement case in 2011.
House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta claimed that the archdiocese was involved in a 2011 transaction involving the state health insurer and HMI.
But Bishop Pabillo said that while the archdiocese owns the property where the hospital is erected, it is not involved in the hospital’s operations and “was not involved in any transactions with PhilHealth.”
In its website, the Cardinal Santos Medical Center also said HMI “turned over hospital management” to the Colinas Verdes Hospital Managers Corporation on Aug. 15, 2008.
“Thus, in that period, [the Archbishop of Manila] was not involved in the day-to-day operations of the hospital, and hence was not involved in any transactions with PhilHealth,” said Bishop Pabillo.
The prelate made the statement after some legislators threatened to file plunder charges against the archdiocese and the hospital over US$3.5 million of alleged “missing funds.”
Marcoleta claimed that the hospital was supposed to return about US$4.9 million to the state insurer after the hospital allegedly “under-deducted” payments from patients.
He said that “under deduction” happens when a hospital charges the entire cost of a medical service rendered to a patient to the state-insurer but only deducts a flat rate from the patient’s bill.
The legislator said PhilHealth demanded that the hospital return the amount in 2011 but HMI filed a case against the state-insurer.
The parties then entered into a settlement wherein the hospital returned about US$1.4 million to the state insurer.
Marcoleta claimed that the process was “very suggestive of corruption.”
The Cardinal Santos Medical Center is formerly known as St. Paul’s Hospital of Manila that was established by the Maryknoll Sisters before World War II.
It was destroyed during the war.
The Archdiocese of Manila, then headed by the late Cardinal Rufino Santos, financed the reconstruction of the hospital.
On August 15, 1974, it was instituted as the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital in honor of the first Filipino Cardinal.
The hospital was renamed Cardinal Santos Medical Center on August 1, 1988.