If I had my way, as I already said before, based on the three hearings of the Committee of the Whole, there may not be enough evidence to recommend criminal charges against Sec. Duque for the simple reason that like the other members of the PhilHealth Board, he had no hand in the illegal implementation of the IRM; nor was he involved in the procurement of overpriced IT equipment.
However, my colleagues – particularly Senate President Sotto who chaired the COW hearings – would have seen it another way. Since we are a collegial body, we always abide by the rule of the majority.
That said, the Senate Committee of the Whole did include in its recommendation to the President the replacement of Sec. Duque: “To appoint a new Secretary of the Department of Health who has a stronger will to fight corruption within his organization and the agencies under his/her watch.”
Removing all the regional vice presidents of PhilHealth may be easier ordered than implemented, considering that a number of them are protected by the civil service law. This is not to mention that it is unjust and unfair to those who are not involved in shenanigans in PhilHealth.
As a former chief of the National Bureau of Investigation, he should have no trouble coordinating with the powerhouse task force led by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, his former boss, to implement much-needed reforms in PhilHealth.
I hope he will not fall victim to manipulation by parties inside and outside of the agency who have caused the state insurer to lose billions of pesos to corruption – not just for his sake, but for all Filipinos covered by PhilHealth.
Dapat maisabatas na agad ang “Designated Survivor” legislation upang maiwasan ang constitutional crisis at pagkabakante ng liderato ng bansa sakali mang magkaroon ng ‘di-inaasahang pangyayari (“exceptional circumstances”) kagaya ng terorismo.
Ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson na naghain ng naturang panukala sa Senado, ang mabilis na pagsasabatas nito ay magsisilbing lunas sa limitasyon sa isinasaad ng Saligang Batas tungkol sa pagpasa ng liderato ng bansa o line of succession bunga ng mga ‘di-inaasahang pangyayari.
“Because of the failure of Congress to pass the necessary legislation in extending the line of succession beyond the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a constitutional crisis is possible if all four top elected officials, God forbid, die in one event such as the SONA due to a terrorist attack in the Batasang Pambansa, or any occasion where the President and all three officials in the line of constitutional succession are present,” paliwanag ni Lacson.
“If such a tragedy occurs, who will act as President until the next election of the President and Vice President, since the constitutional line of succession to the President stops at the House Speaker?” tanong ng mambatas.
To avert a potential constitutional crisis and leadership vacuum, the process to pass a “Designated Survivor” measure guaranteeing the continuity and stability of operations in government should be started immediately, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Monday.
Lacson said recent events involving “exceptional circumstances” such as terrorism illustrate the need to address soonest the limitations of the 1987 Constitution’s current provision on the line of succession.
“Because of the failure of Congress to pass the necessary legislation in extending the line of succession beyond the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a constitutional crisis is possible if all four top elected officials, God forbid, die in one event such as the SONA due to a terrorist attack in the Batasang Pambansa, or any occasion where the President and all three officials in the line of constitutional succession are present,” Lacson said.
“If such a tragedy occurs, who will act as President until the next election of the President and Vice President, since the constitutional line of succession to the President stops at the House Speaker?” he added.
“With all that said, I hope the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes and Laws will immediately conduct a hearing on Senate Bill No. 982, which I filed in August last year – or appoint me as subcommittee chairman, as I am willing and ready to sponsor and defend such an important piece of legislation on the Senate floor,” Lacson said.
Indeed, it’s long in coming by way of a statement from our DFA secretary. China’s display of arrogance by accusing us of infringing on its sovereignty and security by sending military aircraft into airspace adjacent to Panatag Shoal/Bajo de Masinloc, urging the Philippines to immediately stop illegal provocations, tops it all.
Atty. del Rosario’s irrevocable resignation is one of many reasons to hope for some good things to come in view of the ongoing DOJ-led Task Force investigating the recent PhilHealth anomalies. The paying members and all taxpayers who contribute to the state health insurance fund surely deserve a break from the cyclical corruption involving its top executives.
DOJ Sec. Guevarra being on top of the situation, with full support being extended by the President, is something that we did not see in past investigations of PhilHealth anomalies.
We can only pray and hope that the renewed effort will be sustained all the way to its logical conclusion.
On PCEO Ricardo Morales:
I feel sorry for PCEO Morales, not for anything else but for his health condition. I hate to think that the stress brought about by the intense hearings of the Senate Committee of the Whole may have taken a toll on his already infirm health condition.
In spite of his possible complicity that could make him face some serious legal problems stemming from the report of the Senate Committee of the Whole, I still wish that he wins his bout against cancer and recovers.
We have passed a strong Anti-Terrorism Law for our security forces to better address terrorism in Mindanao and the rest of the country. Unfortunately, amidst the numerous petitions against the measure, the agencies tasked to craft the implementing rules and regulations of the law have not yet issued the same which could have given our law enforcement agencies and the AFP the impetus to fully implement the law with efficacy and confidence, even proactively as we have included even “inchoate offenses” punishable for even at the stage of planning and preparation.
With all that said, another declaration of martial law in Mindanao or Sulu may not be necessary.