Palace confirms sacking of PhilHealth chief de la Serna

MANILA MalacaAang on Tuesday confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte has fired acting Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) president and chief executive officer (CEO) Celestina Ma. Jude de La Serna.

Dela Serna was definitely fired, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press briefing in Seoul, South Korea.

Roque said the Office of the President has investigated many complaints against dela Serna, including her excessive trips and lavish lifestyle amid the PHP8-billion deficit incurred by PhilHealth under her watch.

I can confirm that a senior Palace official did an investigation and I could confirm that a recommendation was made to fire her, he said.

Roque, however, clarified that while Dela Serna was sacked as acting PhilHealth chief, she remains as member of the PhilHealth Board of Directors.

Dela Serna has been blamed for PhilHealth's failure to fully implement the Universal Health Care law, which provides free medicine for everyone.

We need a complete, honest PhilHealth (chief) if we are going to have a successful universal health care. So the complaints against her and that PhilHealth has incurred a deficit is unacceptable because it is important to protect the viability of PhilHealth, Roque explained.

MalacaAang on Monday released the appointment of Roy Ferrer, a member of PhilHealth's Board of Directors, as acting president and CEO of the agency.

Roque said Duterte still might appoint another person to head PhilHealth since Ferrer, a native of Davao, is just an officer-in-charge.

He is still an OIC. I think it is not (a) permanent appointment and therefore the President has not closed his option on who will be the eventual PhilHealth president, he said.

Meanwhile, Roque downplayed the observation made by ousted Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno that the firing of government officials is just a form of publicity.

You know, I think, this chief justice needs psycho-social assistance. How can we say that it's just for show when people are losing jobs? he said, adding that it is the job of the Ombudsman, not the President, to file cases against sacked officials.

How come she said that no cases were filed? I understand the amount of pressure that she is subjected to. Take it easy ma'am. This is a long battle. But meanwhile, let's be more circumspect, Roque said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency