Kuwaiti-owned company in PH may be funding Maute: lawmakers


Posted at May 31 2017 02:58 PM | Updated as of May 31 2017 03:03 PM

A company involved in the processing of health certifications of Kuwait-bound overseas Filipino workers may be funding the Maute terrorist group and other extremists in Mindanao, the House minority bloc claimed Wednesday.

"Before the (Kuwait) embassy considers an applicant, the physical test should be certified by a certain clinic. The clinic is Winston Q8. Apparently, one of the owners of this company is involved with ISIS," House minority leader Danilo Suarez said in a press conference.

Hussein Al-Dhafiri, a suspected Islamic State member who was arrested in Taguig in March and deported back to Kuwait in April, owns the company, ACTS OFW Party-list Representative Aniceto Bertiz III said.

Military intelligence said Al-Dhafiri's wife Rahaf Zina is the widow of Abu Jandal Al-Kuwaiti, the second highest ISIS leader in Syria who was earlier killed in a combat operation. She then remarried within the terror group. 

The Syrian woman was arrested with Al-Dhafiri but immigration officials were still coordinating her deportation with the Syrian embassy as of April.

"When we were investigating Winston Q8 and its 8 clinics last year, it is just the violations of the rules of RA 122. Two months ago, the Department of Health met with Hussein Al-Dhafiri, who also happens to be a bomb expert based on reports coming from the Bureau of Immigration," Bertiz said.

Winston Q8's office address registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, was the same place where officials arrested Al-Dhafiri prior his deportation, Bertiz said.

"The company might be bogus because they don't even have doctors and nurses in their company," he added.

Bertiz said the SEC did not assert due diligence as it approved Winston Q8's operation in the Philippines, despite the business being wholly owned by a foreigner.

Some members of the House minority bloc have already requested officials to freeze the accounts and assets of Winston Q8. Intelligence personnel were also asked to trace how the company spends its profit.

"They collect P5,483 as (fee for the) clearing of medical certifications, plus P4,000 courier fee. 240 million a month, operating for a period of 8 months. More or less nasa P1 billion na pera nila," Bertiz said.

Suarez called on the Department of Health to probe the legitimacy of the company and its alleged links to terrorist organizations.

Kabayan Party-list Representative Harry Roque said Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial should also be probed as she allegedly "facilitated the return of Winston Q8" after former Health Secretary Janet Garin banned them from operating in the Philippines.

In a text message to ABS-CBN News, Ubial told Roque to, "Go ahead, investigate all you want. It's a free country! But I am confident it's an exercise in futility. I have nothing to hide."

ABS-CBN News tried to get the side of Winston Q8, but the company has yet to respond to calls.

The Kuwait embassy in Manila, meantime, refused to answer questions about the issue.