Duterte appoints new PhilHealth chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 4) — President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Dr. Roy Ferrer as the new acting President of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Ferrer, who was the former representative of the employers' sector, confirmed on Monday he will replace the agency's interim President Celestina Ma. Jude dela Serna.

Dela Serna is under investigation after the Commission of Audit (COA) revealed in an audit observation memorandum a total of ₱923,174.21 in PhilHealth expenditures which it flagged as irregular.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • Local travel expenses reimbursed: ₱627,293.04
  • Allowances received despite Notices of Disallowance: ₱143,881.17
  • Per Diem for Meeting Through Video Conference: ₱152,000.00

The audit report adds to PhilHealth's issues as it takes a hit for a hefty net income loss worth ₱8.92 billion in 2017 from ₱251 million in 2016.

Dela Serna, however, said there was nothing irregular with the expenses.

"With the justification or supporting documents we submitted to (the Commission on Audit), I am confident that this will all be cleared," Dela Serna earlier said. "To the public, I assure you that no money of the public is being used anomalously."