Memos from Asia

“Medical Emergency” or an Escape from the Investigation?

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It is a common legal practice to treat a civilian as innocent until proven guilty.

But what happens when you cannot prove innocence or guilt because the accused claims to be too sick to participate in the investigation? Do we accept it as it is and stop the query? Or do we question the integrity and timing of the sickness?

This is what is currently happening to the corruption case in the Philippines, involving the country’s medical insurance institution, Philhealth.

Recently, two of the company executives, Ricardo Morales, President and CEO, and Arnel de Jesus, executive vice president, have submitted a letter to the Senate stating that they will be unable to attend the hearing due to medical difficulties.

Morales informed the senate that it was undergoing treatment for lymphoma. On the other hand, De Jesus has a medical emergency.

But instead of eliciting pity, this declaration of a medical condition caused an uproar to the citizens. They wanted immediate answers on the corruption case and these executives were key to finding the truth about it.

Some have even expressed their dismay over the conveniently perfect timing of their “medical emergencies”.

The people were also quick to compare the said medical stint to when the previous president Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo, claimed to be suffering from a medical condition during the investigation on a corruption case against her.

This resurfaced a video of her removing her neck brace after the investigations on her supposedly died down.

The Philippines is no stranger to corruption cases, there have been a lot of it over the decades and several of them are still ongoing and have not yet concluded.

The people fear that the Philheath case will be like one of these cases. That if it is prolonged, the case will soon be forgotten.

The country cannot afford that in this pandemic and especially with the fear of the medical institution being on the verge of bankruptcy. If Philhealth closes, a lot of Filipinos will lose their “partner in health”. (Philhealth’s logo tagline)

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