Lacson: ‘Soul-searching’ not for Duque, ‘soul-less people’ at PhilHealth
MANILA, Philippines — “Soul-searching is only for people who have souls.”
Senator Panfilo Lacson had this to say to the “soul-less” officials from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) who he said took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Corruption in PhilHealth to take advantage of a pandemic is worse than the deadly coronavirus itself because of its evil intent and purpose… Soul searching is only for people who have souls,” Lacson wrote on Twitter Friday.
Corruption in PhilHealth to take advantage of a pandemic is worse than the deadly coronavirus itself because of its evil intent and purpose… Soul searching is only for people who have souls.FEATURED STORIES
— PING LACSON (@iampinglacson) August 20, 2020
Asked to elaborate, the senator told INQUIRER.net in a text message that he was referring to all “those soul-less people” in the state-run insurer.
“Even [Health Secretary Francisco Duque III] who didn’t do anything in his capacity as ex-officio Chairman of PhilHealth. Billion peso question is why?” Lacson added.
Lacson’s statement came after Duque said that he will heed the call of some senators to do some “soul-searching” amid the number of allegations against him.
On Tuesday, Duque told senators that he would do some “soul-searching” if his “best” had not been “enough” in leading the country’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic as he admitted lapses in the government’s initial response to the crisis.
“I took full responsibility for my decisions and actions. And the effort… I’m trying my best. There was never a time that I never tried my best but if my best is not enough, I just have to do some more reflection and soul-searching,” Duque.
Aside from his perceived lackluster performance to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Duque was also being criticized for the PhilHealth corruption mess, being the state insurer’s board chairman.
PhilHealth has been embroiled in fresh allegations of corruption and fraudulent schemes after a sitting board member and a resigned anti-fraud officer claimed that a so-called “mafia” in PhilHealth has allegedly been orchestrating large-scale corruption within the corporation for years.
In the last Senate hearing into the PhilHealth mess, Duque was grilled by officials over his supposed failure to stem corruption in the state insurer despite being at the helm of the agency in different capacities since 2001.
The health secretary was even tagged by a whistleblower as the “godfather” of the alleged PhilHealth “mafia,” an allegation that Duque had dismissed as “malicious and without basis.”
“I do not wish to dignify that allegation,” Duque said.
The Senate is set to come out with its probe findings on the issue following three hearings, which all lasted for nearly 10 hours.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the chamber’s findings will be forwarded to the Department of Justice.
Aside from the Senate probe, PhilHealth is also facing separate corruption investigations by the House of Representatives, the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and a task force created by President Rodrigo Duterte and led by DOJ.
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