Gierran’s appointment is illegal

"The reasons are clearly spelled out in the law."



I have been requested to repeat my reasons for my belief that the appointment of former National Bureau of Investigation chief Dante Gierran as president and chief executive officer of PhilHealth is illegal.

Under Section 1 of Republic Act 11223 (Universal Healthcare Act), upon the recommendation of the Board Trustees of PhilHealth, the President shall appoint the agency’s president and CEO from the Board’s non-ex-officio members.

This means that the President cannot appoint Gierran unless he is a member of the Board of Trustees of PhilHealth, and unless the Board recommended his appointment to the President. 

Thus, before Gierran can be appointed as President and CEO of PhilHealth, he must be first appointed as a member of the Board of Trustees.

What is/are the legal requirements before Gierran can be appointed as a member of the Board of Trustees?

Section 13 of RA 10149 (GOCC Governance Act of 2011) mandates that an appointing director shall be appointed by the President from a short-list prepared by the Governance Commission for Government-owned or-Controlled Corporations (GCG).

Under this law, Gierran can only be appointed by the President as a member of the Board of Trustees of PhilHealth if he was included in the list prepared and submitted by the GCG to the President. But the President cannot legally appoint Gierran a member of the Board of Trustees, much more as a PhilHealth president/CEO, my gulay!

Take note that before the GCG can include your name in the shortlist for appointment as a member of the Board of Trustees of Philhealth, the GCG first needs to determine whether you are qualified to hold this office.

My gulay, it’s a long process! The President cannot just pick anybody to be PhilHealth president and CEO. The three permanent Commissions of GCG and the two ex-officio members (Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez and Department of Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado) will also have to vote whether to include you or not in the shortlist.

The GCG is akin to the Judicial and Bar Council. Before you can be appointed as member of the Board to any GOCC, PhilHealth included, you must pass through the wringer of the GCG, and you must be included in the shortlist. Otherwise, the President cannot legally appoint you as a member of the Board of Trustees of PhilHealth, much more as president and CEO.

Thus, the answer to the question of whether or not the appointment of Gierran is legal depends on whether his name was in that shortlist for the Board of Trustees. It’s pretty basic.

* * *

In an earlier column, I suggested that the President should create a “jobs policy” in the wake of so many jobless people as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Labor and Employment will deny this, for sure, but a survey showed that almost half of the country's adult labor force of 60 million are jobless. Santa Banana, they are the new poor!

The newest of the “new poor” are some 119,000 to 140,000 retrenched teachers and staff, out of the more than 700 private schools which will remain closed. These schools have lost income because of lack of enrollees.

The group representing these teachers and staff claim that the P500 million allocated to them is not enough.

The jobs policy that President Duterte has to adopt right away should not be an emergency employment scheme. For sure, the ranks of the unemployed can only worsen the poverty problem of the country for many years to come.

While the President may have signed into law Bayanihan 2, the billions allotted for his project are only stop-gap measures to alleviate the people’s needs.

What is essential and urgent is a long-term jobs  policy to prevent a bigger problem of poverty.

My gulay, if there’s one element missing, it’s an urgent and lasting jobs policy. Santa Banana, I foresee a bleak future for the Philippines without any assurance that people can get employed when this pandemic finally ends!

* * *

I don’t know whoever had the idea of easing the one-meter social distancing protocol in public transport. To me it would worsen the problem.

Mark my words, there will be a surge of COVID-19 cases in the country as a result of this nonsense.

They say the idea was to help operators and drivers of public utility vehicles. Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said that if this is true, we should add more jeepneys, buses, and other means of transportation—not ease the social distancing protocol.

Health experts say this is dangerous. What can happen here is that we could lose everything we have gained.

* * *

The ban of going to cemeteries during “Undas” or All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day is no problem for me and my wife.

For many years, we have not gone to the cemeteries on those two days. We go on other days. What matters is that we remember and pray for our loved ones who have gone ahead of us.

Topics: Emil Jurado , Dante Gierran , PhilHealth , Universal Healthcare Act
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