Arnel De Jesus designated as PhilHealth OIC following Morales’ resignation

(Eagle News) — PhilHealth executive vice president Arnel de Jesus has been designated as the state insurer’s officer-in-charge.

PhilHealth corporate secretary Jonathan Mangaoang made the disclosure on Thursday, Aug. 27, during the continuation of hearings on allegations of corruption in PhilHealth, by the House committees on public accounts, and the committee on good government and public accountability.

According to Mangaoang, De Jesus’ designation, which would be effective upon the acceptance of Ricardo  Morales’ resignation from the top PhilHealth post, was approved by the board on Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Morales tendered his resignation also on Wednesday, two days after President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly said it would be best for him to quit amid the “crucial” times for the agency.

But some lawmakers asked whether De Jesus’ health was considered in his designation.

A medical certificate from Asian Hospital and Medical Center sent to the Senate, which is also conducting a probe into the allegations against  PhilHealth in  aid of legislation, showed De Jesus had been admitted to the hospital on Aug. 5 for hypertensive heart disease, acute coronary syndrome, and diabetes type 2, among others.

The medical certificate said he was scheduled for a coronary angiogram, angioplasty, and pulse generator replacement.

According to Mangaoang, De Jesus’ health was not discussed during the meeting.

“..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,” he said.

Morales is undergoing treatment for lymphoma.

The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission and a task force formed by the Department of Justice are conducting separate probes into the allegations made by Thorrsson Montes Keith, anti-fraud officer who resigned from PhilHealth in July.

Keith had alleged a Philhealth “mafia” had pocketed P15 billion in funds.

Lawmakers have also pointed out the allegedly overpriced IT system proposed by PhilHealth, which Morales has said was necessary and would actually save the state insurer in funds lost to fraud.