MANILA (UPDATE) - The Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PHAPI) lost its ‘warrior-leader’ Dr. Rustico Jimenez, whose death was confirmed by his daughter on Thursday morning.
“Wala naman po siyang reklamo na masama ang pakiramdam. Pero nakita namin na nanghihina, mataas ang kaniyang sugar, kasi it runs sa family ang diabetes. Pero ang ikinamatay niya ay cardiac arrest,” said Jimenez’s daughter Nina Erica who is based in the US.
In a statement posted on the Facebook page of PHAPi, the organization mourned the death of Jimenez, 72, and described him as “an irreplaceable defender and advocate of the rights of private hospitals.”
The statement added that Jimenez was at the helm of the organization for 14 years and “gallantly steered the PHAPi to excellent service to its members.”
Jimenez made headlines when he accused the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation ((PhilHealth) of delayed reimbursement claims running in billions of pesos to private hospitals.
At one point, he and his group asked President Rodrigo Duterte to replace Secretary Francisco Duque III as Department of Health head.
“Kahit masama na pakiramdam niya, tina-try pa rin niya mag-attend ng Zoom meetings. Pero, sinabihan siya ng kapatid ko na magpalakas, magpahinga. Pero talagang passion po talaga ng daddy ko ang tumulong, lalo na pagdating sa private hospitals association, kasi nga po, hindi sa ayaw nilang tumigil sa pagtulong, pero minsan nga po, mahirap kung di sila nababayaran on time,” said his daughter.
She added that her father died after replying to her message that he is getting better.
“Sinabi ng nurse, base sa timeline ng pag-text niya sa akin,
pagkatapos mag-text sa akin, doon na siya inatake, kasi hawak-hawak niya ang telepono niya at nakalagay sa kaniyang dibdib nung siya po ay nawala,” she said.
She thanked all those who sent messages telling them how their father had helped or inspired them.
“Maraming salamat po kasi nakakatulong po sa amin 'yun, na malaman na his legacy will continue on. At talagang nakakataba ng puso na madaming nagsasabi kung gaano kabait ang ama ko,” she said.
In a statement, the Department of Health said it mourns the death of Jimenez.
“Dr. Jimenez was a neurologist, a frontliner, an active partner of the DOH, and a staunch supporter of the private hospital sector,” the statement said.
“We pray for the eternal repose of his soul and wish his family continued strength in these challenging times.”