New PhilHealth President and CEO Dante Gierran (File photo)
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed confidence that new Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dante Gierran can weed out deep-rooted corruption within the state insurer, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
“Naisip po ng Presidente ang pinakamagaling na italaga diyan, number one, ‘yung mayroong kakayahang mag-conduct ng mga imbestigasyon at ito nga po si Director Gierran (The President thinks the best choice to conduct investigation there is Director Gierran),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual press briefing.
In a public address delivered on Monday night, Duterte announced his decision to appoint Gierran as the new head of PhilHealth, which is subject to ongoing investigations due to supposed massive corruption.
Gierran replaced Ricardo Morales who resigned from his post last week due to health reasons and amid investigations on alleged irregularities committed by erring PhilHealth personnel.
Gierran, a lawyer and a certified public accountant, was appointed as National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director in 2016.
During his stint at the NBI, he was ordered to implement a major revamp and send corrupt individuals to jail.
Some have questioned Gierran’s appointment, citing a provision of Republic Act (RA) 11223 or the Universal Health Care Law.
Under Section 14 or RA 11223, PhilHealth must be led by a Filipino citizen with “at least seven years of experience in the field of public health, management, finance, and health economics or a combination of any of these expertise.”
Roque, however, defended Duterte’s decision to tap Gierran as new PhilHealth chief.
“Director Gierran already has seven years (of) management experience. Hindi naman po kinakailangan na health economics experience (He does not need to have experience in health economics),” he said.
On August 25, Duterte vowed to use his last two years in office to run after corrupt PhilHealth officials and employees.
In his remarks on Monday, the President also ordered Gierran to revamp PhilHealth.
Roque was optimistic that Gierran could help fulfill Duterte’s promise to stop corruption within the embattled state-run insurance firm.
“Wala naman po siyang bahid ng korapsyon (He is corrupt-free). He is a CPA-lawyer and a seasoned investigator, indispensable po para malinis ang PhilHealth (to cleanse PhilHealth),” Roque said, referring to Gierran. (PNA)