Is there a row between CSC chair Bala and Commissioner Lizada?

Published September 1, 2020, 8:03 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

All appear to be well between Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala and Commissioner Aileen Lourdes Lizada after their conflicting remarks regarding anomalies at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

CSC Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala (National Defense College of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a Zoom-based press conference, which both officials joined Tuesday along with their fellow agency executives to drum up the 120th Philippine Civil Service Anniversary (PCSA) month, Bala and Lizada cordially acknowledged each other as they exchanged speaking duties during the opening minutes of the virtual presser.

“For many years, the PCSA has served as an occasion to highlight the critical role and celebrate the contributions of the public sector’s human resources in nation-building. It is also a time for public servants to affirm their commitment to perform their duties and responsibilities with utmost efficiency, responsiveness, integrity, and courtesy,” Bala said.

After her opening speech, the CSC chair called on Lizada to give a run-down of the activities set for PCSA month.

“For the details of the activity, it is divided into four weekly themes. The first week being ‘Linggo ng Lingkod-Bayani’; number two is ‘Linggo ng Yamang-Tao’…the third week would be ‘Linggo ng Malasakit’…and the fourth we have ‘Linggo ng Pasasalamat.’ For the whole month of September there will be special treats for the government employees,” Lizada said.

It was only a week ago when the commissioner – in her capacity as an invited resource person –told the House Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability in a virtual hearing that Bala had personally given orders to withhold information on the complaints filed against PhilHealth officials.

Lizada said this during the House inquiry when congressmen began to use the word “mafia” to describe the alleged shenanigans occurring at the state-owned health insurer.

That same day, the CSC issued a statement calling Lizada’s claim as “patently 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,” the statement read.

Lizada has since stood by her statement before the House panel amid Bala’s denial.

“Hindi po ‘yun false, ‘yun ho ay totoo (It’s not false, it’s true). The records will bear me out,” she has been quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, among the main attractions in this year’s PCSA celebration is the Government Online Career Fair (GOCF) slated to run from September 14 to 18.

The fair is expected to cater to people who have recently lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lizada said that some 729 job vacancies from 76 government agencies have been listed for the GOCF so far.