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President Duterte also has a right to privacy—DOJ

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte greets members of Japan’s House of Councillors during their courtesy call together with Japan House of Councillors President Chuichi Date, at the Malacañan Palace on January 8, 2019. RENE LUMAWAG/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte also enjoys the right to privacy under the Constitution, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

In a text message, the Justice Secretary said the president will only be obligated to disclose his health to the public if he is suffering a serious illness.

“The Constitution requires the President to divulge any serious illness on his part. But if the illness is not serious enough to affect the discharge of his official functions, the President has no duty to inform anyone,” he said.

Guevarra added that if Duterte’s illness will not disrupt his duty as president, the he is not obligated to inform the public.

During the weekend, there were rumors circulating that President Duterte was confined in Cardinal Santos Medical Center. However, on Sunday (May 19), former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go posted photos of him and President Duterte enjoying breakfast.

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NBI to use 2 ex-employees of Wellmed Dialysis Center as state witnesses

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is mulling over using two former employees of Wellmed Dialysis Center who turned whistleblowers on the “ghost dialysis” scam as state witnesses.

The two, Edwin Roberto and Liezel de Leon, are currently under the custody of the NBI following their arrest for estafa and falsification of document cases.

NBI deputy director for Forensic Investigation and spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said, “Two others we are considering them, Aileen and Edwin Roberto, as possible state witnesses so they have to be criminally charged and later on, we will file a motion to exclude them from the criminal charges if they will be admitted into the Witness Protection Program.

Atty. Crispin Francis Jandusay, one of the legal counsels of the two whistleblowers, said they are now preparing the requirements for the two in applying to the Department of Justice Witness Protection Program.

“Up until now, at present, we are complying with the requirements and also of course, we don’t want to preempt because one of the requirements is the certificate of materiality issued by the investigating prosecutor,” Jandusay added.

He also said that the two decided to reveal the anomaly at the dialysis center because of guilt.

Meanwhile, the NBI is also preparing a complaint to be filed against Philhealth officials who were implicated in the controversy.

The agency, however, refused to disclose the identities of the said officials so as not to compromise their investigation.

The NBI also said that they are looking into alleged corruption in other treatment centers, institutions, and personalities involved in the issue.

“In order to not compromise the operations being conducted and investigations being conducted by our agents, we beg not to disclose yet the identities of institutions as well as the personalities involved.” (with reports from April Cenedoza) /mbmf

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Duterte seeks Philhealth reorganization

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Sunday, June 9th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte seeks the reorganization of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) due to alleged corruption issues in the agency.

In a television guesting on Saturday (January 8), President Duterte said the P154 billion-worth of funds allegedly lost to anomalous PhilHealth claims is unacceptable.

“When I go back [to Manila], I’m making the announcement that I am maybe reshuffling the PhilHealth. For the sheer amount that was lost, I have to reorganize your entity,” he said.

The president also believes that the agency should be managed by a member of the military or a businessman to curb irregularities in collecting PhilHealth claims.

President Duterte also reiterated he trusts the integrity of PhilHealth acting president, Roy Ferrer.

“I do not have the slightest doubt about the integrity and honesty of Roy Ferrer,” he said.

The issue stemmed from a report made by Edwin Roberto, a former employee of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center, that WellMed continues to file PhilHealth claims even after their patients have died.

Based on the initial investigation, the Dialysis Center had done the same mode of operation 28 times while 12 cases are still being verified by authorities.

According to Ferrer, there is an alleged “mafia” inside the agency which serves as an accomplice of several hospitals, clinics, and doctors engaged in said anomalous transactions.

“Gusto nila sila nandoon for more than 20 years (They want to stay [in PhilHealth] for more than 20 years) and now we are getting more and more whistle blowers that are coming out to bring forth what they are doing in their respective regions. Marami po mga tiwaling ginagawa po at iniimbestigahan na po natin ito, (there is a lot of corruption and investigations are underway),” he said.

Aside from the reshuffling, President Duterte has also ordered authorities to file charges against the owner of WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center and other involved government officials.(with reports from Joan Nano)

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Duterte issues formal order for Imelda Marcos jewelry auction

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 4th, 2019

Photo credit: Official Gazette / PCGG

President Rodrigo Duterte has formally ordered for the auction of the seized jewelry of former first lady Imelda Marcos which will benefit poor Filipinos.

Reports say, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed this on Tuesday (June 4).

“OP (Office of the President) has officially informed the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) that it interposes no objections to the proposed activities relative to the disposal of the Marcos jewelry collections, subject to compliance with existing laws, rules and regulations,” Medialdea said.

READ: Palace to block any move to prevent sale of Marcos’ jewelry

The P704.8-million jewelry collection, known as the Hawaii collection, of the former first lady were seized by the government when the Marcos family fled to Honolulu, Hawaii in February 1986 after a people power revolution toppled former president Ferdinand Marcos from power.

Imelda Marcos | Courtesy : PVI-Press by Rodel Acuvera Lumiares

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