Lacson sees conflict of interest on presence of Sec Duque in Philhealth Board

Maris Federez   •   June 19, 2019   •   1360

Senator Panfilo Lacson (L) and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III (R)

Senator Panfilo Lacson reveals having possession of several documents that will prove of the seeming conflict of interest with Health Secretary Francisco Duque III sitting in as head of the Philhealth Board.

Lacson made the revelation amid the corruption issues haunting the government health insurance body.

He said, based on the copy of a contract of lease in his possession, the regional office that Philhealth is renting in Dagupan City is owned by Duque’s family.

“If this is not conflict of interest, I don’t know what is. Building mo, naka-contract of lease ka and that is a family corporation,” Lacson said.

He added that he also found out some more modus operandi happening inside Philhealth.

“There’s another modus operandi kung saan yung hospital mismo in cahoots with PhilHealth. Nagbibigay ng report extending confinement of patients na nadischarge na,” he added.

The senator said he is worried of what could possibly happen to the billions of pesos that is allotted as a fund for the Universal Health Care program with Duque at the helm of Philhealth.

Lacson said he will call for an investigation regarding the said issue once the 18th Congress officially opens in July. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Installing Designated Survivor in Phl setting, timely – lawmakers

Maris Federez   •   August 30, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday voiced out his concern whenever the President, Vice President, senators, House representatives, and members of the Cabinet are together in one event.

“Example, there are extremists or a terrorist bomb at the Batasan and all died. We don’t have a successor,” he said.

That is why the senator believes that it is high time for the country to have a designated survivor, and filed his version of the Designated Survivor Bill.

A designated survivor is chosen and will be tasked to be the leader of the country when government officials included in the line of succession are incapacitated or have died at the same time.

An official who will be chosen to be the designated survivor will be brought to a safe house whenever the President holds a state of the nation address.

In the country’s existing law, included in the line of succession after the President is the Vice President, the Senate President, and the House Speaker.

 “After the Speaker of the House, we will continue the line of succession by naming the most senior member of the senate in terms of number of years. At kung naubos pa rin lahat ng senador, yung most senior member of the House of Representatives. Kung maubos parin ang lahat ng member ng House of Representatives [And when no one is left in the Senate, it will be the most senior in the House of Representatives. And when one is left in the House of Representatives], the President will now designate a Designated Survivor from among the members of the cabinet,” Lacson explained.

Meanwhile, on her version of the said bill in the House, Quezon City Representative Precious Hipolito-Castelo proposed that the Designated Survivor must be from the President’s Cabinet.

 “The absence of a leader can lead to lawlessness and disorder and, worst, anarchy,” the lady lawmaker said.

She stressed the need for a designated survivor, saying it will prevent the country from going into chaos in case the leaders perish.

Senator Lacson admitted that he was inspired to file the Designated Survivor Bill after watching the popular American TV series bearing the same title which revolves in the life and challenges of being the Designated Survivor.

U.S. law provides that a Designated Survivor is installed in office when the President, Vice President, and other officials come together in a gathering, such as the State of the Union Address, Presidential inauguration and during Congress Joint Session.

“Kapag naisabatas ito maraming hindi a-attend ng SONA [Once this is passed, many will not attend the SONA],” the senator quipped. (from the report of Grace Casin) /mbmf

Lacson questions release of 4 convicted Chinese drug lords in June

Maris Federez   •   August 29, 2019

Senator Panfilo Lacson

Even before the rumors of the possible release of former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez, four Chinese nationals had been freed in June, according to Senator Panfilo Lacson.

Lacson said the four are convicted drug lords and are scheduled to be deported to China.

Because of this, the senator wants to furnished with a complete list of prisoners that could possibly qualify to be released because of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).

Lacson is concerned that the implementation of the said system is susceptible to possible anomalies.

“Baka naman per release ng convict meron corresponding amount [Per convict released might have a corresponding amount]. And we talk of 11,000 convicts to be released. At P10,000 or P5,000 each you can just imagine na [the] huge amount of money involved,” Lacson said.

On Monday, the Senate will begin the hearing on the proposed amendment of Republic Act 10592, particularly the provision on GCTA.

The senators who filed the amendment want the prisoners who are convicted of heinous crimes to be excluded from those who will be granted pardon or parole. (from the report of Grace Casin) /mbmf

Privatization, case rate payment scheme removal, recommended amid PhilHealth anomaly issue

Maris Federez   •   August 14, 2019

Senator Franklin Drilon at Wednesday’s (August 13) hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee expressed concern on the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s ability to pay its members the necessary claims and benefits in the next ten years.

“I do not know how to sustain these in the next 10 years if you keep on incurring a net operating cost. At the end of the day, you might see a collapsing Philhealth,” Drilon said.

This is after the Commission on Audit (COA) released its report of the state insurance’s yearly net operating loss that has now reached billions of pesos.

To which Philhealth vice president for Data Protection, Nerissa Santiago answered: “Those were the years that we increased the benefits without the increase in premiums.”

Other senators were also alarmed by the alleged anomaly and corruption in the agency, including overpayment and ghost dialysis patients.

With this, former Department of Health (DOH) secretary and now Iloilo representative Janette Garin recommended the abolition of the case rate payment scheme and the privatization of some of the operations of the state insurance.

This, she said, will help eradicate corruption.

“Scrap the case rate case. Push through with the individual membership on smaller premium para mawala po ang [so that we will eliminate] ghost members,” Garin said. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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