House panels propose emergency powers for Duterte to deal with PhilHealth mess

Published September 2, 2020, 5:17 PM

by Ben Rosario

A joint House of Representatives committee is proposing the grant of special emergency powers to President Duterte to take swift action at reorganizing and address massive corruption and mismanagement and stop financial bleeding at the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor said the Committee on Public Accounts which he chairs and the Committee on Good Government will also deliberate on the proposal that will make Congress the complainant in the filing of possible plunder and other criminal charges against PhilHealth officials and personnel and their private sector cohorts involved in defrauding the State insurer billions of pesos in funds.

Anakalusugan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor

Defensor, who on Tuesday presided over the joint congressional hearing on PhilHealth anomalies, said the two House panels will now start deliberating on the two proposals as it discusses the committee report of its inquiry.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque, who appeared at the hearing, readily aired his support to the proposal to arm Duterte with special powers to reorganize and take legal action to find the culprits in the massive PhilHealth corruption.

“The power to reorganize is critical,” stressed Defensor.

He said the committees are eyeing the grant of special powers for Duterte to hire personnel and “third party providers for audit, leal, public health, and finance.”

“It will be limited like all emergency powers,” the partylist lawmaker who admitted that the President has requested such additional authority.

According to Defensor, the two House panels are ready to deliberate on its recommendations that will address the issues and controversies they have confirmed during the hearings.

“The Committee will enter into the actual filing of plunder cases in coordination with the Department of Justice,” he said.