Dante Gierran, a 65-year-old retired director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), has been named by President Rodrigo Duterte as the new chief executive officer of the embattled Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Duterte made the announcement in a publicly broadcast meeting with government officials yesterday. Gierran will replace the outgoing Ricardo Morales who resigned allegedly to focus on his cancer treatment. Morales leaves the agency as he, along with several senior officials, have been accused of stealing as much as PHP15 billion (US$305 million) from the state insurer last year, an allegation which he denied.
“I’m a little bit scared,” he admitted, despite accepting the controversial post.
“I do not know the operation of PhilHealth…unlike in the NBI, I have been sitting with the NBI for 27 years. I knew the operations there, but in PhilHealth, nothing, I do not know public health,” he added in English and Filipino.
Gierran was appointed despite Section 14 of the Universal Health Care Law, which states that the president must choose a PhilHealth chief and president who has 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.”
Both houses of Congress are conducting hearings to investigate the scandal, and Gierran said he is expecting a report from the Senate next week into the alleged anomalous dealings, and cases will be filed based on the reports.
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