MANILA - A former official of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) on Friday vouched for the newly-named officer-in-charge (OIC) appointed by the board to assume the position vacated by PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales.
“He is highly qualified for the position. He has a very impressive background. He is a retired partner of a prestigious accounting firm in the country and isa po siyang highly recommended to introduce reforms to PhilHealth,” said resigned PhilHealth senior vice president for legal sector Rodolfo del Rosario.
In an interview on ABS-CBN Teleradyo, Del Rosario said he had worked with Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Arnel de Jesus.
“He is actually my direct boss. I don’t report to the president and CEO. I report to the executive vice president,” he said.
On Thursday, the PhilHealth board named De Jesus as OIC to take over the position of Morales who resigned citing health reasons.
De Jesus had skipped legislative inquiries on alleged corruption in the agency due to several illnesses. He cited heart ailments and diabetes as reasons why he failed to attend the Senate and House hearings.
“Itong sakit niya alam ko this is only temporary kasi nagpalit ata siya ng battery sa kaniyang pacemaker. Aside from that, he is healthy and very able to perform his function,” said Del Rosario.
(This I think is only temporary because he just changed the battery of his pacemaker.)
Del Rosario believes that the board is fully aware of De Jesus’ health status.
“I would presume that the board has considered all the factors, including his fitness, in terms of physical health so I would assume that he will be able to attend the next hearing,” he said.
But Del Rosario said the new head of PhilHealth must act on pressing reforms such as improving the administrative capacity of the state health insurer and expanding its information technology system.
“Tingin ko, isa ito sa napaka-critical na kailangang magawa at kailangang maisaayos yung organisasyon mismo, yung kaniyang structure at kaniyang business processes. At malaking factor dito ang information technology natin dahil isa din yun sa mga naging hamon, kahit dito sa legal sector when I assumed, there was no working information system that is being utilized by our regional legal units and even dito sa central office,” said Del Rosario.
(I think it's critical to fix the organization’s structure and the business processes. Information technology also plays a factor here because that is one of the challenges, even with the legal sector when I assumed my post, there was no working information system that is being utilized by our regional legal units and even here in the central office.)
The third challenge that must be addressed is the conflict among factions inside PhilHealth, he said.
“This is a very unfortunate truth dyan sa PhilHealth that there are groups that want to control the affairs of the corporation. Yun po ang nakiita kong 3 malaking hamon na kailangang tugunan ng bagong mamamahala po sa korporasyon,” he said.
(These are the 3 challenges that need to be addressed by the corporation’s new management.)
One of PhilHealth’s witnesses pointed to an alleged “mafia” running corruption schemes within the agency. Even Morales told the Senate about a group with immense influence within the agency.