Tag: DOH

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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QUOTES from DZRH INTERVIEW…
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#PINGterview: What’s Next for PhilHealth?

In an interview on DZXL, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* How Anti-Terror Law could have prevented Jolo blasts
* National debt
* Suggestions to strengthen PhilHealth

QUOTES and NOTES:
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#PINGterview: Mga Pwede Kasuhan sa PhilHealth, Tukoy Na

In an interview on DZBB/GNTV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* charges that may be filed vs accountable PhilHealth execs
* who is the PhilHealth mafia
* remedial legislation
* cooperation of task force led by DOJ

QUOTES and NOTES:
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On Sec. Duque’s Promise to ‘Rectify’ PhilHealth’s Circular on IRM for COVID-19 HCIs

More than rectifying the wrong implementation of the IRM Circular 2020-0007, the accountable officers of PhilHealth who were responsible for the advance payments worth billions of pesos from March to July made to unauthorized HCIs like dialysis centers, maternity care providers, etc., should be made criminally and administratively liable for malversation of public funds (or property) under Art. 217, Chapter 4 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Sec. 40 or RA 10951, which carries the penalty of reclusion perpetua if the amount involved is in excess of P8.8 million.

The evidence supported by official documents and testimonies provided by resource persons who testified under oath so far gathered by the Senate Committee of the Whole during the three weekly hearings are enough to indict people responsible directly or otherwise.

Without tough punitive action against those involved in such shenanigans, we may never see the end of the vicious cycle of corruption that has plagued PhilHealth.

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QUOTES FROM TELERADYO INTERVIEW…
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May Maliligo sa Kaso! Senate Hearing on Corruption at PhilHealth

Sen. Lacson’s Opening Statement at the Senate Committee of the Whole Hearing on Corruption at PhilHealth:

Sa nakaraang dalawang araw na pagdinig ng komite ng buong Senado na ating isinagawa sa kasalukuyan, buong singkad na maghapon nang parehong araw ng Martes, pinaligiran po tayo ng mga sinungaling at mga manloloko. Sabi nga ng nanay ng kasama nating Senator Grace Poe – β€œAng sinungaling ay kapatid ng magnanakaw!”

Let me prove what I just said, Mr. President and distinguished colleagues.

Only last week, I asked Fund Management Sector Senior Vice President Renato Limsiaco, Jr., why despite PhilHealth being a withholding tax agent of the BIR, he failed to deduct and withhold from the funds advanced to the private hospitals and other health care institutions the taxes due them under the National Internal Revenue Code.

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On Health Care Workers’ Appeal to Place Mega Manila under ECQ

The request of health workers to place Mega Manila under ECQ for at least two weeks is a valid request that MalacaΓ±ang should seriously consider. Putting human lives above all considerations is a no-brainer, given the choice.

Having said that, some adjustments can be made in the distribution of government subsidy to the most basic necessities of those who need it the most.

What is important is to prevent an obvious pattern of upsurge in the daily coronavirus infection.

On the other hand, this underscores the significance of data management by concerned government agencies, which after more than four months should have already been in place and readily implementable.

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Read: Senate Resolution 479, Urging COA to Conduct a Special Audit of COVID-Related Spending before Congress Deliberates on 2021 Budget

Various procurements made in relation to COVID-19 have been marred by allegations of overpricing … Congress is set to deliberate on the 2021 budget, and anticipating that massive allocations will need to be made to address the health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19, it is of critical importance that there be audit findings to guide legislators in their exercise of the power of the purse.” (co-author with Senators Hontiveros, Drilon, Pangilinan, de Lima, Recto)

On the Reported Shouting Match over Corruption at PhilHealth

Unabated corruption and mismanagement of Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) funds has been a topic of discussion among Senate President Sotto and me, along with some senators from the majority bloc, for quite some time now.

But the reported shouting match in a recent virtual conference between the PhilHealth president and some board members involving almost P1 billion worth of questionable transactions, including a total overprice of P98 million – if true, says it all.

I am now drafting a resolution calling for a Senate Committee of the Whole inquiry. As expressed by SP Sotto to me last night, this inquiry will be one of the Senate’s top agenda after our session resumes on Monday.

That such corruption occurred amid the COVID-19 crisis makes it more disgusting and abominable. Nakakasuya na sobra. Needless to say, there is urgency that the Senate has to act on the matter immediately, as part of its oversight mandate, having passed the Universal Health Law.

When the Senate investigated issues surrounding PhilHealth and the Department of Health – including instances of conflict of interest involving the family of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III with the family-owned Doctors Pharmaceuticals Inc. having contracts with the Department of Health, and the PhilHealth regional office renting a Duque-owned building; and with the Secretary’s pattern of failure prompting 14 of us in the Senate to file a resolution seeking his resignation – we had high hopes the shenanigans at PhilHealth would end with a new leadership. Sad to say, how wrong we were.

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QUOTES from DZBB/GNTV INTERVIEW:
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#PINGterview: Mensahe sa ABS-CBN; Kritiko ng Anti-Terror Law; PNP; DOH

In an interview on Abante Radyo Tabloidista, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* ABS-CBN franchise [30:25]
* Fake news vs Anti-Terrorism Law [37:22]
* Cops accused of violating the law [16:07]
* Dealing with COVID at home [21:20]
* DOH issues in handling COVID pandemic [24:05]

QUOTES and NOTES:
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#PINGterview: Laging Handa Public Briefing: Anti-Terror Bill, National ID, GMRC Law

In an interview on PTV-4’s Laging Handa public briefing, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Why the Anti-Terrorism Bill is urgent [21:12]
* DOH leadership woes in dealing with COVID-19 threat [23:15]
* National ID’s value amid pandemic [24:56]
* Implementing the GMRC Law [28:03]

QUOTES and NOTES:
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