MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing a doctor-businessman to be the new PhilHealth President and Chief Executive Officer, Malacañang bared on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte has considered Dr. Jaime Cruz, who owns JTC Group of Companies, to replace current PhilHealth Chief Roy Ferrer.
Panelo also clarified that Cruz has yet to accept the offer but did not give further details.
“Hindi ko alam kung sa PhilHealth siya. Basta may nabanggit siya na (I don’t know if he will be appointed to PhilHealth. But he mentioned that) he’s waiting for the response of Dr. Jaime Cruz for an offer I think he made to him,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Panelo, meanwhile, said the PhilHealth officials who were asked to tender their resignations have no resentment towards the President.
On Monday, Panelo confirmed that Duterte has asked PhilHealth board members and regional vice presidents to step down amid its reported funding of bogus kidney dialysis treatments.
Panelo said Duterte still believes in the integrity of Ferrer and members of the Board, but felt that their resignation would give the state-run agency a “clean slate”.
“They thanked the President for giving them the opportunity to serve and they also appreciate the fact that the resignation is based not on the fact that the President mistrusts them, but because he wants a clean slate, he wants a full investigation,” Panelo said.
Panelo noted that Duterte is still open to the possibility of reappointing some PhilHealth executives once the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) concludes its investigation on the scam.
“Parang may binanggit pa nga siya doon, kung okay di puwede naman silang ibalik o kaya bigyan sila ng ibang position (I think he mentioned something there, that they can be reappointed or given a new position),” Panelo said.
“The President siyempre is tentative, kasi wala pa iyong report ng NBI (The President of course is tentative because the NBI was yet to release its report),” he added.
Panelo, meanwhile, said he has no doubts that Duterte will accept the resignation of PhilHealth officials.
“Oh, that will be accepted. Undoubtedly,” Panelo said.