Pacquiao defends Lacson from troll attacks after PhilHealth exposé
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Manny Pacquiao on Thursday rallied behind Senator Panfilo Lacson after the latter supposedly found himself in the receiving end of “vicious troll attacks” for revealing alleged anomalies in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Instead of “attacking” Lacson, Pacquiao advised administration supporters to support Lacson because he is providing President Rodrigo Duterte with “unadulterated facts” about what is going on within the agency.
Pacquiao said Lacson had “obviously conducted meticulous research and investigation” on the alleged anomalies he exposed during the past two hearings at the Senate.
Lacson’s revelations should not be taken as an attack against the President but instead be seen as a “generous gesture to help him fulfill his promise to wipe out corruption in his administration,” according to Pacquiao.
“Huwag naman sanang masamain itong mga ginagawang pagbubuyag ni Senator Lacson. He is just doing his job,” the boxer-turned-politician said.
(Senator Lacson’s expose should not be taken negatively.)
He added that the Senate is just exercising its oversight powers “to protect our people from thieves posing as government officials.”
Further, the senator said supporters of the administration should even be thankful for Lacson’s “unrelenting crusade” against corruption.
“The Senate is investigating this PhilHealth anomaly in aid of legislation and can only recommend appropriate government action based on its findings,” Pacquiao said.
“We are presenting the facts through witnesses and material evidence that may be presented and can recommend the filing of charges if needed,” he added.
The senator, however, noted that the chief executive has the sole power to fire erring officials in his administration.
“It is up to the President to appreciate the recommendations of the Senate and we would not take it as an offense if in the end he sees things differently,” Pacquiao added.
During the two previous Senate hearings into the corruption allegedly rampant in PhilHealth, senators grilled PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales and his subordinates over the procurement of allegedly overpriced IT equipment; the “questionable” release of funds under the corporation’s Interim Reimbursement Mechanism (IRM); and the alleged manipulation of the corporation’s financial status.
The Senate, constituted as the Committee of the Whole, is set to resume its investigation into the PhilHealth mess on August 18.
The probe was initiated by Lacson, together with Senate President Vicente Sotto III, following a controversial meeting of PhilHealth officials and members of the Duterte’s Cabinet.
The meeting was said to have escalated into a forum for heated exchanges over PhilHealth’s allegedly overpriced IT system, which led to several PhilHealth officials turning in resignation letters.
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