Civil Service Commission (CSC) commissioner Aileen Lizada on Tuesday said CSC chair Alicia dela Rosa-Bala instructed CSC officials to keep mum on cases against Philhealth officials.
That came to light after the chair of the House public accounts committee, Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, asked Lizada: “Meron ba’ng move to suppress information and not to give it to this committee? Please be honest.”
“May guidance regarding yung concern niyo. May guidance po,” Lizada replied during the joint hearing of the House public accounts and good government and public accountability committees.
She later clarified that she meant it was Bala who gave the “guidance” to the others in the CSC meeting.
“If my recollection serves me right, this information should not be made public nor should be given out to anyone who would be asking either in aid of legislation or investigation,’” she said, recalling Bala’s words during the meeting.
But Bala’s representative, Assistant Commissioner Ariel Ronquillo categorically denied that such a “guidance” took place.
“I categorically will say that I did not hear that guidance being given by the chair during a meeting which I was in attendance,” he told the committees.
Lizada reacted to the denial, saying: “Allow me to refresh the memory of Attorney Ronquillo… She mentioned about the policy na isama sa data sharing and it was Attorney Ronquillo na kausap niya. And you can hear it from the audiotape, ‘Yes, Ma’am, yes Ma’am.’”
But Ronquillo argued that there was never a directive to “suppress information,” only not to disclose information to the public prematurely. He said the directive did not cover the House inquiry in aid of legislation.