Recent developments have given us a sneak peek into the extent of corruption at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I thus pose this challenge to the corrupt elements in PhilHealth: Declare a moratorium on corruption, at least during the pandemic. Who knows, they might actually learn that it feels good not to be corrupt, and thus develop an aversion to corruption.
Having said that, I also encourage those in PhilHealth who fight corruption in their own little way – the officials and rank-and-file who continue to provide information and documents – not to tire of blowing the whistle on corruption, even if we may not immediately see the results of their acts.
A corruption-free – and more importantly, corruption-averse – PhilHealth will not only ensure much-needed health benefits for all Filipinos in the long run. In the immediate term, it will ease the concerns of lawmakers, myself included, that the budget we pass for PhilHealth to do its job will not be lost to greed.
I abhor violations of the legislative process, and have called out members of Congress for such acts – such as when they inserted their pork barrel in the National Budget bill after its approval on third and final reading or ratification of the bicameral conference committee report, and before the bill was enrolled.
Why, then, would I make such a stealthy insertion to the Anti-Terrorism Bill as Robles implies?
Speaker Cayetano may have a point since the Constitution provides that bills of local application like franchise measures must originate from the House of Representatives.
He is wrong in equating it to the Charter change issue, though, since as practiced and for expediency, we conduct committee hearings on tax and budget measures even before the House transmits its approved version of the bill to the Senate.
What can be considered blatantly violative of the Constitution is if the Senate committee chairperson reports out on the floor for plenary debates the committee report. This is something we have not done and will never do.
Having said that, what I understand to be tackled by the Public Services Committee are not the bills in connection with the ABS-CBN franchise but a filed resolution to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the alleged violations of ABS-CBN that is being questioned by the Office of the Solicitor General before the Supreme Court via a quo warranto petition in which I have earlier expressed reservation out of courtesy to a co-equal branch that has already given due course to the said petition.
From SunStar Baguio: Senator Panfilo Lacson assured that Baguio City and all local government units in the country will benefit from the Budget Reform for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) Act he filed in the Senate.
In an interview, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– possible effects of a ‘shared’ House Speakership
– possible ‘pork’ in the budget, amending the 1987 Constitution
– Senate’s continued independence even with ‘the President’s men’
– passage of death penalty bill
– Sen dela Rosa’s ‘S*** happens’ statement
Kung isasali ang publiko sa pagsusuri ng mga miyembro ng Mataas at Mababang Kapulungan ng Kongreso sa paghubog ng pambansang gastusin ng pamahalaan taun-taon, mas mahirapang makakalusot ang tangkang pagpapakasasa sa kaban ng bayan ng mga mambabatas na makakapal ang mukha.
Malinaw itong nakasaad sa Senate Bill 24 na inihain ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, kung saan ay pinapahintulutan ang publiko na makapanood nang personal at makasali sa talakayan ng mga mambabatas sa pambansang badyet mula sa komite hanggang sa bicameral conference committee.
“Now is the time for Congress to recognize the importance of the direct participation by people’s organizations and non-government organizations in the budget deliberation,” paliwanag ni Lacson sa kanyang panukala.
Dapat din ma-institutionalize ang legislature-civil society collaboration “to achieve a people-oriented budget as well as establish transparency and accountability in the budget process,” dagdag ni Lacson.
To keep greedy parties from inserting “pork” into the national budget, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson has filed a bill institutionalizing the direct participation of taxpayers in the budget process.
Senate Bill 24, the “People’s Participation in the National Budget Process Act of 2019,” provides privileges and incentives for accredited groups that take part in the budgeting process.
“Now is the time for Congress to recognize the importance of the direct participation by people’s organizations and non-government organizations in the budget deliberation,” Lacson, an avowed enemy of the pork barrel system, said in his bill.