Malacañang names possible new PhilHealth chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 11) — Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing to appoint Dr. Jaime Cruz to lead state health insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

This, after Duterte demanded for the courtesy resignations of PhilHealth acting President and chief executive officer Roy Ferrer and other members of the agency's board.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, however, did not give any further details about Cruz.

Top officials of PhilHealth have been asked to resign to allow for an uninfluenced investigation on the alleged insurance fraud. Panelo said during the Malacañang press briefing this afternoon that they have not yet submitted their resignations.

The demand for their resignations followed reports that Quezon City-based WellMed Dialysis Center profited from benefits claimed from PhilHealth in behalf of dead patients. The alleged scam was first revealed by two WellMed former employees.

Ferrer had earlier said that a "mafia" might be out to take him down because of his anti-fraud reforms. He also told former Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the lawyer of two whistleblowers, that if he wants to get his position, he has to earn it.

However, Roque denied Ferrer's insinuations.

“Come on. For the record, I was already in the Cabinet, bakit naman ako bababa pa sa [why would I stoop down to a] government-owned and controlled corporation?” Roque told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Tuesday.

He also said he is not qualified to head the state health insurer and that he does not have the management skills required for the job.

Under the Universal Health Care law, the PhilHealth president must have seven years of experience in public health, management, finance and health economics.

Senator-elect Christopher “Bong” Go, who has served as Duterte’s longtime aide, hinted that a retired female police or military doctor may be heading to the PhilHealth board.