Tag: President Rodrigo Duterte

#PINGterview: Senate Hearing on PhilHealth Corruption | August 3, 2020

In an interview with Senate media, Sen. Lacson answers questions on:
* Senate Committee of the Whole hearing on corruption at PhilHealth on Aug. 4
* Calls for DOH Secretary Duque’s resignation
* Medical frontliners’ plight

QUOTES and NOTES:
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On Sec. Duque’s Fitness to Stay as DOH Chief

It is not only me who disagrees with the President for not firing Secretary Duque. There were 14 senators who had earlier asked him to resign. I don’t think that number has changed.

Many others in the DOH and the medical community also want him to resign or be replaced.

Having said that, I couldn’t understand what “amulet” or magic potion Duque has as far as the President is concerned.

His failure to do a simple contact tracing on the co-passengers who took the same flight as the virus-infected couple from Wuhan, China, further aggravated by his refusal to assume responsibility by blaming other agencies of government when it was his duty to coordinate that effort was his first major offense in a series of devastating blunders.

All these being considered, it is not difficult to understand why we are in this mess.

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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 Malacañang 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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On the President’s ‘Threat’ to Telcos to Shape Up

This kind of “threat” worked in the past: Mighty’s P40-billion tax settlement; Philippine Airlines’ settling a P6-billion obligation to the government; the Mile Long property taken over by government; and the rehabilitation of Boracay, to name a few cases that did not need to undergo lengthy and expensive court litigation – and I would say has therefore served its purpose, rightly or wrongly.

Whether the government takeover of telcos is justified and compliant with the provisions of the Constitution, given the circumstances, is another matter altogether, however.

Having said that, telcos should treat the President’s pronouncement as a wake-up call to improve their services to the public, as one thing in the President’s statement on the issue is certain and true: that our country’s telecommunications services pale in comparison with our neighbors and with other jurisdictions in terms of speed and efficiency.

But what the President failed to issue is a similar warning to some local government unit executives who extort money from the telcos in exchange for permits and licenses as well as “protection” from delays in the construction of such facilities, especially in areas where the presence of armed groups like the CPP-NPA is strong.

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#PINGterview: 3 Strikes sa PhilHealth; Wala Nang Mapuntahan Kundi Mag-Resign?

In an interview on DZBB and GMA News TV, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Senate efforts to address COVID-19 situation [01:48]
* 3 issues hounding PhilHealth that the Senate probe will focus on [04:33]

QUOTES and NOTES:
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#PINGterview: Dapat May Makulong na sa Katiwalian sa PhilHealth!

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Expectations at President Duterte’s SONA [00:11]
* Latest corruption and mismanagement at PhilHealth [07:20]
* Claims that IATF is a failure in dealing with COVID-19 [37:04]

QUOTES and NOTES:
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On the Denial of a Legislative Franchise to ABS-CBN

I don’t think the standards for the granting of legislative franchises will change. The case of ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise application is ‘sui generis’ in a manner of speaking.

The Machiavellian leadership style easily comes to mind, and if I may quote what Niccolo Machiavelli once wrote: “I’d rather be feared than loved if I cannot be both.” Accept it or not, the President’s body language was obvious enough for the House leadership and allies not to read and interpret the way they voted yesterday.

All that being said, Machiavellian or not, President Duterte’s leadership style is a class by itself and is proving to be an effective style of leadership. Whatever individual and collective reasons the 70 Committee on Legislative Franchise members have in voting against the media giant, nobody can argue that under the Constitution, a legislative franchise is up to Congress to grant or not.

With regard to ABS-CBN, the only message I have for them is: “You fall today, you will rise tomorrow, and that’s for sure.” It is as simple as that.

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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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On Allegations of ‘Abuse’ by the President of the Anti-Terrorism Law

Obviously, the President was referring to the designation of the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group by the Anti-Terrorism Council in late 2017 as authorized by Sec. 11 of Republic Act 10168, the Terrorist Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012, following the standards set by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373. It paved the way for the filing of a proscription case by the DOJ, which is now pending before a Manila Regional Trial Court.

Among the provisions of the newly signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is a restatement of Sec. 11 under RA 10168 – we simply added the mechanism for the freezing of assets by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Thus, there is nothing illegal in the action by the Chief Executive to proclaim that the CPP-NPA is a designated terrorist organization after the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has ruled on the matter.

What I simply clarified when asked to comment on the declaration made by the President is the difference between designation and proscription. Designation is administrative and can be exercised by the Executive Branch through the ATC, while proscription is judicial which only the RTC (under the now-repealed Human Security Act of 2007) and the Court of Appeals (under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020) has the power to decide.

In the case of proscription, the burden of proof lies with the Department of Justice. Even membership of a proscribed terrorist organization undergoes the same due process of law – meaning the Court of Appeals will decide who may be identified as members and subsequently arrested.

Unfortunately, designation and proscription have been used interchangeably – and conveniently at that – by critics of the Anti-Terrorism Law to advance their purpose of asserting that mere designation may result in arrest and detention, thus giving the ATC judicial powers under RA 11479 – which is wrong, if not malicious.

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On the President’s ‘Declaration’ of the CPP-NPA as Terrorists: Opinion, Not Official

If in “declaring” a group, organization or association as a terrorist organization, the President is referring to its proscription, there is a judicial process involved – meaning full court intervention via the Court of Appeals, complete with due notice and hearing.

Under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, only the Court of Appeals can order the proscription – not the Anti-Terrorism Council, nor the President. Further, the burden of proof lies with the Department of Justice. Even membership in a proscribed terrorist group goes through the same due process which the DOJ has to prove.

On the other hand, if the President is referring to the designation of a terrorist individual, group and organization by the ATC, it does not involve arrest and detention but a mere signal for the ATC to request the Anti-Money Laundering Council to issue a freeze order of the accounts and assets of the designated terrorist person or group.

That said, designation for the purpose of freezing the accounts and assets is not exempt from judicial scrutiny since the said designated individual or group can still file a petition with the CA to appeal such freezing of their accounts. Designation follows the guidelines and standards set by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373. It is not absolute or discretionary on the part of the ATC.

Therefore, the “declaration” is a personal opinion of the President, not official. The trial of the proscription case against the CPP-NPA is still pending before the Manila RTC. With the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the trial will be transferred to a division of the Court of Appeals to be authorized by the Supreme Court.

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