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Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon believes there will be no overhaul of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) with Chief Operating Officer Arnel De Jesus appointed as officer-in-charge.

In a statement Friday (August 28), Drilon recalled that it was under De Jesus that Philhealth advanced payments to dialysis centers and maternity clinics under the interim reimbursement mechanism (IRM) even if they didn’t have COVID-19 cases.

Philhealth released about P14 billion to hospitals under IRM, a scheme which lawmakers found questionable during congressional investigations.

“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 said of De Jesus.

“There is nothing from his past actions that could justify this decision of the PhilHealth Board to appoint de Jesus. I am extremely concerned about how the Board picked de Jesus. It is going to be the same old story of corruption and incompetence,” he added.

Drilon said De Jesus “is not the right man to lead PhilHealth” since the agency is badly in need of cleansing.

“We need someone with unblemished credibility, with zero tolerance for corruption and with high regard for accountability of which Mr. de Jesus really fell short and is really unqualified,” he said.

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