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PhilHealth Execs Go on Sick Leave as Agency Faces Corruption Probe

Both the president and executive vice president cite medical reasons.
by Christa I. De La Cruz
Aug 8, 2020
Photo/s: Website/PhilHealth

Philippine Health Insurance Corp., a government-controlled corporation that facilitates health care coverage of Filipinos, is under investigation for alleged "widespread corruption." Congressional hearings started on August 4, which happens to be day one of Metro Manila's return to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine. Another hearing is scheduled for August 11, but Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) president and CEO Ricardo Morales and executive vice president and COO Arnel De Jesus asked to be excuse citing medical reasons.

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Morales' attending medical oncologist submitted a medical certificate to the Senate Committee of the Whole, which was released to the public on Saturday, August 8. "He is advised to complete six cycles of treatment during which he will be immunocompromised and vulnerable to opportunistic infections. It is, therefore, in his best interest that I have advised him to take a leave of absence," the doctor said. The 67-year-old Morales is diagnosed with Diffuse Large B cell Lymphoma and is undergoing chemotherapy at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City.

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De Jesus, on the other hand, wrote a letter to Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III informing the senator that he "will not be able to attend the Senate hearing...due to an unforeseen medical emergency." Asian Hospital and Medical Center issued him a medical certificate confirming that the 61-year-old PhilHealth official was addmitted to the hospital on August 5 for six illnesses, including hypertension and diabetes.