Press Release
August 28, 2020

Drilon hits designation of de Jesus as PhilHealth OIC
The minority leader says 'it is going to be the same old story of corruption and incompetence' with de Jesus at the helm

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon expressed disappointment over the designation of Arnel de Jesus as officer-in-charge of Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) following the resignation of Ricardo Morales as president and chief executive officer.

"I am deeply disappointed with the decision of the PhilHealth Board to name Mr. De Jesus as officer-in-charge of PhilHealth. As PhilHealth's Chief Operation Officer, he implemented the questionable Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM). It must be remembered that he was the one who kept justifying the download of IRM funds to non-Covid-19 hospitals such as dialysis and maternity clinics. His actions and poor professional judgment were so evident during the hearings of the Committee of the Whole on PhilHealth," Drilon said in a statement on Friday.

"He is the one who said that liquidation is 'optional', when PhilHealth should have required hospitals to liquidate the funds immediately as required by COA rules. He signed the illegal liquidation memorandum circular which gave too much discretion to regional directors, which resulted in this financial mess and corruption," Drilon stressed.

"There is nothing from his past actions that could justify the decision of the PhilHealth Board to name de Jesus as OIC. I am extremely concerned about how the Board picked de Jesus," he added.

Drilon said with de Jesus as the OIC, "it is going to be the same old story of corruption and incompetence."

"It only highlights the need to revamp the entire organization of PhilHealth," he added.

The minority leader had earlier said that the President should be authorized to reorganize PhilHealth.

"What PhilHealth needs now is a cleansing process. We need someone with unblemished credibility, with zero tolerance for corruption and with high regard for accountability," Drilon said, "of which Mr. de Jesus really fell short and is really unqualified."

"Mr. de Jesus is not the right man to lead PhilHealth even as an OIC," he added.

Drilon said earlier that the government should observe the "fit and proper" rule in appointing officials to PhilHealth.

"The long history of corruption within the corporation, across all levels, may be addressed by passing a law that would authorize the President to reorganize PhilHealth. This reorganization must be accompanied by a well-studied reorganization plan," he said earlier.

"The fit and proper rule should be strictly applied. The officials must be chosen based on their integrity, experience, education, training and competence, among others," Drilon said. "It should be led by someone with excellent background in finance and management."

Citing Section 5e of the GOCC Governance Act (RA 10149), Drilon said the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG), as the governing body for government corporations, must actively and decisively perform its mandate as a central advisory, monitoring and oversight body of PhilHealth.

Drilon said the GCG should identify the necessary skills and qualifications required for appointive directors to the PhilHealth, and consider the suitability and qualifications of the candidates before submitting its recommendations to the President.

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