Duterte does not need emergency powers –Lacson

Published September 3, 2020, 8:17 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Panfilo Lacson said President Duterte does not need emergency powers to solve the problems of corruption in the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Lacson said on Thursday that emergency presidential powers are not needed from Congress since Duterte could just order agencies in the executive branch to rid PhiHealth of corruption.

Pro-administration congressmen said they were inclined to recommend the grant of emergency powers to Duterte to reorganize the state insurer and clean its ranks.

“The chief executive may not need that delegated authority anymore if the intention is to cleanse PhilHealth of scalawags and misfits as he has the PNP (Philippine National Police), NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), DOJ (Department of Justice) and other instrumentalities of government at his disposal,” Lacson said in a text message.

“It only takes a strong political will to accomplish the task,” he added.

He also noted the limitations of the Civil Service Law for such a reorganization.

Earlier, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon rejected the proposal, saying the President has more than enough powers to implement reforms in PhilHealth.

Lacson said Duterte could start cleansing the PhilHealth by sacking Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who leads the agency’s Board of Directors in an ex-officio capacity.

This was one of the recommendations of the Senate Committee of the Whole in wrapping up its legislative inquiry on the controversies hounding PhilHealth.

“For a start, he should replace Sec Duque as Health secretary and ex-officio chairman of PhilHealth with somebody who is endowed even with little above average leadership traits, competence, honesty and integrity,” Lacson said.