By Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News Posted at 06/07/2011 3:35 PM | Updated as of 06/07/2011 3:35 PM
MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on Tuesday said she is ready to explain her side after being included in the amended plunder complaint regarding the diversion of Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration funds to Philhealth.
In an interview, Baldoz said she has yet to receive a copy of the complaint filed by Atty. Frank Chavez. She said she is ready to explain her side once she gets a copy.
She defended herself though by saying that the fund allegedly diverted from OWWA to Philhealth during her time as OWWA Administrator did not come from the OFW trust fund but was actually part of a separate Medicare fund. Current OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon said the said fund may be allocated to healthcare services for overseas Filipino workers.
Chavez amended on Monday his complaint-affidavit for plunder against former president now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, former Health Secretary now Civil Service Commission(CSC) chairman Francisco Duque III and former Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator Virgilio Angelo for alleged misuse of some P554.8-million in OWWA funds.
Chavez personally subscribed to his amended complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) panel of prosecutors designated by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to handle the preliminary investigation of the case.
The complaint now includes individuals who sat in the OWWA Board of Trustees when it passed Resolution No. 005 Series of 2004 dated February 2, 2004 allowing the transfer of some P530.38-million of the subject overseas workers’ funds to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation(Philhealth/PHIC), namely:
-Patricia Sto. Tomas, former Labor Secretary and then OWWA Board chairperson;
-Rosalinda Baldoz, current Labor Secretary and then member of the OWWA Board of Trustees as Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA);
-Manuel Imson, then Labor Undersecretary and member of the OWWA Board of Trustees;
-Mina Figueroa, then OWWA Board of Trustees member as representative of the Finance Department;
-Caroline ROgge, then OWWA Board of Trustees member as representative of the Management Sector;
-Victorino Balais, then OWWA Board of Trustees member as representative of the Labor Sector;
-Virginia Pasalo, then OWWA Board of Trustees member as representative of the Women’s Sector; and
-Gregorio Oca, current OWWA Board of Trustees member as representative of the Sea-based Sector.
“There is no question that respondents herein were, at all times material to the present charge, ‘public officers’ within the purview of the Anti-Plunder Act. And the amount in question — five hundred thirty, three hundred eighty-two, four hundred forty-six Philippine Pesos (PhP 530,382,446.00) — is way beyond the jurisdictional amount for the application of the Anti-Plunder Act,” the amended complaint read.