Top CSC execs spat over ‘guidance’ on PhilHealth cases
MANILA, Philippines — Tension is brewing between two ranking officials of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) over access to a video wherein CSC chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala supposedly gave orders to suppress information to lawmakers investigating the officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
CSC Commissioner Aileen Lizada said Wednesday that her office has been denied access to a video where Bala allegedly ordered commissioners of the agency not to disclose information on the administrative cases of PhilHealth officials to members of the House.
“Just want to inform you that my office was denied access already sa video which is part of the files in Microsoft Teams. I had this checked while the hearing was still ongoing. My legal staff confirmed. Denied access na kami. Wag lang sana nilang i-tamper ang evidence,” Lizada said in a Viber message to reporters.
(Just want to inform you that my office was denied access already to the video which is part of the files in Microsoft Teams. I had this checked while the hearing was still ongoing, My legal staff confirmed that we were already denied access. I just hope that they don’t tamper the evidence.)
“Will be issuing a memo today. I am cautioning them — the secretariat. Baka maka-bingo na sila sa akin,” she also said.
Lizada however did not categorically say where the order to deny her office access to the video came from.
In the joint hybrid hearing of the House committee on public accounts and the committee on good government and public accountability on Tuesday, Lizada claimed there was a “guidance” from Bala to withhold information from lawmakers on cases filed against PhilHealth officials.
When asked what Bala had exactly said, Lizada answered: “If my recollection serves me right, ‘this information should not be made public nor should be given out to anyone who would be asking either in aid of legislation or investigation.’ Parang ganun ang natatandaan ko (That’s what I remember).”
She said this guidance was captured in an audio-recording but not included in the minutes of the meeting where Bala allegedly gave the order. House lawmakers have already subpoenaed the said recording, the minutes of the commissioners’ meeting, and all documents involving administrative cases faced by PhilHealth officials that are still pending with CSC.
Bala, however, denied making such an order to CSC commissioners, calling the claim of Lizada “false and misleading.”
“As a matter of protocol, CSC Chairperson Bala observes the sub judice rule (restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to judicial proceedings to avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice) especially with cases pending adjudication with the Commission,” read a statement from CSC.
“Chairperson Bala would never ask any CSC official or employee to ‘suppress’ the sharing of information that could otherwise be legally shared, more so before the House of Representatives Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability,” the commission added.
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