DOH accused of illegally releasing P300 M to LWUA
- Jess Diaz () - January 9, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - An administration lawmaker has accused the Department of Health (DOH) of illegally releasing P300 million to the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).              

The lawmaker, who requested anonymity, said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released the funds to the DOH last week, which in turn redirected it to LWUA administrator Prospero Pichay Jr.                                                          

The legislator said the funds are part of the 2011 budget allocation for the DOH and are intended for financial assistance to municipalities experiencing water shortage. The lawmaker said DOH violated the 2011 general appropriations law by transferring the funds to the LWUA because it has the primary responsibility to identify towns entitled to financial assistance for water system projects.                                                                                             

“The DOH surrendered such power to LWUA and its administrator, who will now have the sole discretion on which town will get how much. It’s like giving Administrator Pichay a P300-million pork barrel despite the recent anomalies in his agency,” he said.                                         

Pichay could not be reached for comment.                                

An appointee of former president Arroyo, the former lawmaker has held on to his post because of a fixed term.                                                                    

LWUA was previously under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); Arroyo placed it under the DOH during the term of former Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.                                                                                   

Before ending her nine-year term last June 30, Arroyo appointed Duque chairman of the Civil Service Commission, a position also protected by a fixed term.                    

Pichay and Duque were not covered by the executive order issued by President Aquino voiding the midnight appointments made by Arroyo.                                           

 The source threatened that the House would withhold the appropriation of the funds to the DOH if Health Secretary Enrique Ona will not reconsider the transfer of funds to the LWUA.                                                                      

 “If he (Ona) is giving away hundreds of million of taxpayers’ money just like that, then we (House) will not appropriate those funds to his department in the next budget-making process,” he said.                                                                  

The lawmaker said Ona would have to explain the fund transfer when he appears before the Commission on Appointments (CA)   “This issue will certainly be raised against him, and I think it will delay his confirmation. Worst, it will cost him his confirmation,” he said. 

Ona is among 15 Cabinet members still awaiting the confirmation of the CA.

ADMINISTRATOR PICHAY CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS DOH HEALTH SECRETARY ENRIQUE ONA HEALTH SECRETARY FRANCISCO DUQUE LOCAL WATER UTILITIES ADMINISTRATION PICHAY AND DUQUE
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with