Lawmakers want Cabinet security cluster to probe Ubial over clinics linked to terror suspect

May 31, 2017 - 3:53 PM
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Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial/PNA file photo

MANILA, Philippines — Members of the minority bloc at the House of Representatives are calling for the Cabinet cluster on security to investigate Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial to determine on suspicion she may have been “complicit in the entry of terrorist groups in the Philippines” through a group of clinics she had allowed to continue operating.

“I will formally ask the security cluster of the Cabinet to investigate Ubial because she facilitated the return of Winston Q8 … because she’s complicit in the entry of terrorist groups in the Philippines … she was the one who allowed it to operate after (former Health Secretary Janet) Garin banned them,” Kabayan party-list Representative Harry Roque said at a news conference Wednesday.

Asked if this means he believes Ubial has links to terrorists, Roque said in a separate text message: “I want to know if she has such links.”

Minority Leader Danilo Suarez supported the calls to probe Ubial and said authorities should also find out where the money earned by Winston Q8 went.

ACTS OFW party-list Representative John Bertiz said while they were looking into the Winston Q8, they found out the firm had links to a Husayn al-Dhafiri, an alleged IS agent arrested recently in Taguig City.

In March, the Department of Health ordered the closure of eight medical clinics exclusively accredited by Kuwait’s Ministry of Health through the Winston Q8 Certifications Solutions agency.

Several recruitment agencies also called on the DOH to revoke the permits of clinics linked to Winston Q8 following the arrest of al-Dhafiri.

Bertiz said the firm collected “more or less P9 million per day” from fees paid by overseas Filipino workers for job placements, medical tests and training, and might have amassed up to a billion pesos in the eight months it was in operation.

“We have asked the authorities to trace where this money is. There was a report also the money is being used for operations in Mindanao,” he said.

Bertiz also urged the Departments of Justice and of Labor and Employment to look into the presence of Arab nationals recruiting workers over the past six months in Mindanao.

“We are not saying these workers are being used in the Maute group, but the profits they are getting from these OFWs ang malamang na ginagamit sa pagpondo sa (are likely used to fund their) operations,” he said.