Tag: corruption

#PINGterview: Senate Probe on Red-Tagging; ‘FLR’ in 2021 Budget

In an interview with Senate media, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Probing alleged red-tagging, red-baiting
* ‘FLR’ practice in the budget
* ‘Exemptions’ in the mega-task force vs corruption?

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#PINGterview: ‘Uniform’ Appropriations for Several Districts Spotted in DPWH’s 2021 Budget

In an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* P1-M ‘uniform’ appropriations for at least 42 congressional districts in DPWH’s 2021 budget
* need to prioritize vaccines, R&D in 2021 budget

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On the President’s ‘Offers’ to Resign, Appear before Congress

Screen grab from PCOO

Instead of resigning, the President only needs to be consistent in applying the anti-graft and corruption laws to both friends and foes.

Strong words and warnings may work, but only when backed by political will and followed by concrete actions. There is no better way.

As for his offer to appear before a congressional hearing, that may not be necessary. In fact, the Senate is already proposing in a bill to give him Bayanihan-like powers to address red tape in government.


On the Initial Findings of Task Force PhilHealth

I want to read the full text of the report first so I can make a more intelligent analysis and responsive comments.

That said, let me just say at the outset that obviously, the materials that we provided and shared with Sec. Guevarra and the composite task force were put into good use at the very least. This is good reason enough to feel gratified that we did our share in taking the first big step in making those criminally and administratively liable for the misuse and abuse of public monies accountable.

At least, for a change, we can hope that these β€œvultures” will suffer for their misdeeds to satisfy their greed at the expense of the sick and the unhealthy among our countrymen.


#PINGterview: ‘Haggling’ in DPWH’s Budget for 2021?

In an interview on ANC, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* items in the proposed budget for 2021
* PhilHealth anomalies
* appointment of Cezar Mancao II to DICT

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On Full Congressional Support for the Universal Health Care

Image: CTTO

Despite the shameless corruption in PhilHealth, the 2021 Universal Health Care budget deserves full support from Congress. But we can – and must – make our health care program more meaningful by immediately putting in jail all those who stole our money, directly or otherwise.

That said, a PhilHealth under new leadership should make sure that the funds it gets for 2021 to implement the Universal Health Care Act go to the intended beneficiaries instead of its favored few.

In the same way that Congress will contribute to the success of the Universal Health Care Act, PhilHealth and the other agencies tasked with implementing it should not contribute to its failure.


More than Emergency Powers, Strong Political Will Needed to Disinfect PhilHealth

More than “emergency powers” to reorganize PhilHealth, what the President needs is real, honest-to-goodness, strong political will first.

Since PhilHealth is a creation of a law passed by Congress, the President has no statutory power to reorganize the agency, so he actually needs an act of Congress to delegate to him such power or authority.

And if the President’s intention is to cleanse PhilHealth of scalawags and misfits, he may not need that delegated authority anymore as he has the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice and other instrumentalities of government at his disposal.

That said, there is no time to lose to exercise such political will: No matter how good our country’s economic managers are, if our health department is below the level of incompetence in the middle of this pandemic, we will all sink before we can even start to swim.

For a start, he can fire its ex-officio chairman and replace him with someone even with little above-average leadership traits, competence, honesty and integrity – and who won’t wash his hands but takes full responsibility for what PhilHealth does or fails to do.


#PINGterview: On Pemberton’s ‘Early’ Release

In an interview on DZAR, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Olongapo court’s order for ‘early’ release of US Marine Scott Pemberton
* DOH Secretary Duque’s ‘disagreement’ with Senate committee report on PhilHealth
* talks on Revolutionary Government

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On the Senate Committee of the Whole’s Recommendations on DOH Sec. Duque

Image: CTTO

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.”


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Read: Committee Report No. 107, on the Corruption in PhilHealth Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

We must thus exert our utmost authority and vigilance to rid PhilHealth of undesirables and, punish to the fullest extent of the law, criminals… Less than this, we cannot allow.” – Senate Committee Report 107, by the Senate Committee of the Whole. Sen. Lacson is one of the sponsors of the Committee Report.