De Jesus designated as PhilHealth OIC after Morales’ resignation
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) executive vice president and chief operating officer Arnel De Jesus has been appointed as officer-in-charge of the state insurance firm following the resignation of its president and chief executive officer (PECO) Ricardo Morales.
During the hybrid joint hearing of the House Committee on Public Accounts and the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability on Thursday, lawmakers raised concerns over the lack of leadership in PhilHealth following the resignation of some of its high-ranking officials—including Morales.
“’Yung pamamalakad sa PhilHealth sa gitna ng COVID, nakakatakot na walang kumukumpas at walang nagdadala ng liderato sa loob ng PhilHealth,” Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, who chairs the committee on public accounts, said.
It was here that PhilHealth Corporate Secretary Jonathan Mangaoang disclosed that De Jesus’ designation as OIC President and CEO of the agency was approved on Wednesday, August 26.
“The board yesterday approved the designation of EVP COO Arnel De Jesus as an officer in charge, PCEO, effective upon the acceptance of the resignation of BGen. Morales, following the general rules on succession,” Mangaoang said.
Defensor, however, questioned if PhilHealth considered the health condition of De Jesus in designating him as OIC. Notably, De Jesus was also not in the hearing.
To recall, in a previous House hearing, De Jesus asked to be excused due to health-related concerns, particularly regarding his pacemaker.
“Paano niyo gagawin ‘yang trabaho ninyo kung—I’m not blaming Mr. De Jesus. I am not saying anything peroxiding may sakit siya sa ngayon eh?” Defensor said.
Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. raised a similar concern.
Manaoang said De Jesus’ medical condition was not discussed during the meeting.
“There was no discussion yesterday of his medical condition, although I would assume that the board members were aware of his medical condition given that his medical certificate came out in the papers prior to the Senate hearing,” Manaoang said.
Meanwhile, Cavite 7th District Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla said there is no excuse to not appear in the hearing—even at least through videoconferencing.
“I’ve known people who used pacemakers and it just helps them live a normal life. It’s not an excuse for the person not to appear before us in Zoom at least so we can still ask him questions,” Remulla said.
“At this pandemic, I think the excuses are now very hard to come by not to appear before our body because everybody can have Zoom or use the Zoom app to appear in this body. That’s why I think Mr. De Jesus should join us in Zoom at least,” he added.
Defensor asked PhilHealth to contact De Jesus and ask the latter to attend the hearing even through videoconferencing.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed Wednesday the Palace has already received Morales’ resignation letter but clarified that they are still waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte’s action regarding the matter.
PhilHealth senior vice president for legal sector Rodolfo del Rosario Jr. also resigned amid alleged anomalies hounding the agency.
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