Senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao on Thursday defended his colleague Senator Panfilo Lacson from online attacks made by some administration supporters as the legislative inquiry on Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) anomalies continues.
“Huwag naman sanang masamain itong mga ginagawang pagbubunyag ni Senator Lacson. He is just doing his job," Pacquiao said in a statement.
"Kami sa Senate, we are just exercising our oversight powers to protect our people from thieves posing as government officials," he added.
Instead of bashing Lacson, Pacquiao said administration supporters should be thankful for the former's "unrelenting crusade against corruption."
In previous Senate hearings, Lacson presented documents obtained by his office from PhilHealth insiders, revealing the questionable cash advances made by PhilHealth through the Interim Reimbursement Mechanism, its alleged overpriced IT equipment, and financial statements that are supposedly manipulated.
Pacquiao pointed out that erring government officials have the tendency to feed President Rodrigo Duterte the wrong information and lawmakers are duty-bound to show the "hard facts."
Moreover, he underscored that the Senate inquiry on alleged corruption in PhilHealth is in aid of legislation and that the power to fire and replace officials is still Duterte's discretion.
"We are presenting the facts through witnesses and material evidence that may be presented and can recommend the filing of charges if needed. But in the end, it is the President who has the sole power to fire erring officials in his administration," Pacquiao said.
The Senate Committee of the Whole's investigation on PhilHealth will continue next Tuesday. Duterte also ordered the creation of a task force, led by the Department of Justice, to investigate the allegations. -MDM, GMA News