Press Release
September 26, 2020

Dispatch from Crame No. 921:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Comments on PRC's response to her dispatch on MOA between PRC and PhilHealth

9/25/20

"They're just towers," says National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., on fears of espionage if China-owned Dito is allowed to build cell towers inside our military camps.

"Ginagamit lang ang SALN para siraan ang opisyal ng pamahalaan," says Ombudsman Samuel Martires, defending his decision to restrict access to SALN of public officials.

"So where is the conflict [of interest]?" says the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) board of governors, defending Sen. Gordon's role as both lead Senate investigator of PhilHealth anomalies and PRC signatory in the Memorandum of Agreement with PhilHealth.

Is there anyone left in this administration who is looking out for the interests of our country and our rule of law? Are we living in the age of denial and naiveté?

The questions on the MOA between PRC and PhilHealth are simple: what is the legal justification which supports the PhilHealth's discretion to agree to advance payments? How can a public official with PENDING investigation into PhilHealth's misdeeds and irregularities negotiate and sign an agreement with the latter? On this score, Sen. Gordon's defenders seem to espouse a myopic view of what constitutes conflict of interest (Read: delicadeza).

The Bayanihan to Heal as One law only allowed procurements by government institutions to be exempt from the Procurement Act and related laws. The MOA does not require the PhilHealth to procure anything.

Public office is a public trust. The funds we spend on COVID-19 pandemic response represent charges against our present and our future. Our country deserves to know how these funds are spent and whether they are spent in accordance with our laws. It is our duty to be transparent about public spending and respond to any and all of the allegations of impropriety. We are, after all, public servants. We owe our people our utmost honesty. ###

Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 921, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_no._921

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