Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) top executive officer Arnel De Jesus, who has skipped congressional hearings due to health concerns, has been appointed as officer-in-charge of the state insurer.
At the Senate hearing on Tuesday, PhilHealth chairman of the board and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the board last week appointed an OIC to take charge after president and chief executive officer Ricardo Morales went on medical leave.
“‘Yung board po last week, nagtalaga na po tayo ng isang seasoned financial expert, a former SGV top partner, as OIC and who has to, who is making sure that operations continue unhampered,” said Duque.
Sought for more details, PhilHealth spokesperson Shirley Domingo identified De Jesus — currently executive vice president and chief operating officer — as the appointed OIC.
“It will be during the duration of leave of PCEO Morales. Starting yesterday (August 17, 2020) and will be for two weeks,” said Domingo.
De Jesus, however, did not attend Tuesday’s Senate hearing to investigate anomalies hounding PhilHealth due to medical issues.
“He begged off, nag-beg off po siya at ‘yung kaniyang pacemaker, nagkaproblema lang. Kakapalit lang, kailangan lang i-recalibrate,” said Duque.
Both De Jesus and Morales last week also abruptly left a House of Representatives panel inquiry into the alleged corruption and anomalies, due to health issues.
Morales, who is undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma, said the medical leave was advised by his doctor.
Aside from the two officials, six regional vice presidents of the state insurer have also voluntarily filed official leaves amid ongoing investigations.
Under its mandate, PhilHealth is tasked to administer the National Health Insurance Program which aims to provide health insurance coverage and ensure affordable, acceptable, available and accessible health care services for all citizens of the Philippines.
PhilHealth and its officials are under investigation over the agency’s alleged overpriced purchase of an information technology system worth over P2 billion.
During a previous Senate hearing, resigned anti-fraud officer Thorsson Montes Keith claimed that the PhilHealth “mafia,” composed of the executive committee, stole some P15 billion through fraudulent schemes.
PhilHealth, in a statement, has since denied such claims. — RSJ, GMA News