Lacson accused of abandoning post
Fugitive Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s colleagues in the Senate had unanimously agreed to close down his office because of his continued failure to surface and face the Dacer-Corbito kidnapping and murder charges.
One Senator suggested that they declare Lacson as to have abandoned his post, but majority of his colleagues said it was too harsh.
He clandestinely left the country in February this year a few days before a warrant for his arrest was issued by the court handling the Dacer-Corbito case. He claimed in a statement that he fled not because he was guilty, but because he won’t get justice from the Arroyo administration which persecuted and “demonized” him.
But since July 1 this year, when his perceived ally President Noynoy Aquino was installed as president, Lacson’s whereabouts is still unknown. And there is no indication or feelers that he would come out soon.
I was informed that Lacson dreads the thought of being detained or confined in a jail for common criminals. He could probably meet there some people whom he jailed during his stint at the Philippine National Police that he once headed.
Reports said the Senate leadership was forced to close down Lacson’s office because of the pressure exerted by the Commission on Audit which is questioning his office’s MOOE disbursements without his certification.
The Senator’s 20 abandoned staff members would be absorbed by the Senate Secretariat so they won’t lose their jobs, reports said.
Sources said Sen. Lacson is still trying to “fix” his case before he comes out in the open. It would be embarrassing for him to stand trial in a case where majority of the Filipinos now perceive he is guilty of even if he continuously denies involvement in it.
Interior Undersecretary Rico E. Puno claims that five Palace cliques, with different motivations, including one led allegedly by DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, have sown intrigues and demolition campaigns designed to oust him.
Aside from the Robredo group, he identified the others as those from the Samar and Balay groups, those who wanted to have the control of the PNP, and those identified with the Arroyo administration.
His revelations meant that infighting within the Aquino administration still persists and that maligning him until he becomes too hot to handle and for the President to oust him would be a victory for these groups.
The Senate wants the managers of the PhilHealth to utilize its retained earnings amounting to P110 billion to revitalize the public health care system which reportedly is suffering from a deficiency in funding.
Sen. Ralph G. Recto said PhilHealth’s unutilized savings is more than thrice the Department of Health’s proposed budget for 2011 amounting to P32.6 billion.
As of June 20, 2010, PhilHealth has P115 billion worth of assets and liabilities amounting to P6.172 billion.
Recto wants that PhilHealth’s savings be realigned to upgrade hospitals, rural health units and barangay health stations to augment the DOH’s facilities enhancement programs.
PhilHealth chief Ray Aquino apparently wants to hold on to its savings/earnings but Senators said members or beneficiaries still cough up from their own pockets to pay extra personal expenses which should have been already part of the health insurance.
As of June 2010, PhilHealth has a total of 21.65 million registered members, the bulk of which comes from the private sector (7.41 million).
I respect Ray Aquino’s stance to hold on to their excess funds for the benefit of PhilHealth and its members. But he should also make sure that he is working for the interest of the agency’s members and not for other groups within the Palace cliques who may have special vested interests in said funds
For feedback and comments, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Romie A. Evangelista