MANILA - Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial denied allegations that she allowed the operation of Winston Q8, which lawmakers believe may be funding terrorists in the country.
"I'm open to any investigation because there's nothing to hide and I'm sure that what will come out will be the truth and it will exonerate him, because anybody can say stories about anybody else, but for them to prove whether it's true or not, the burden of truth is on Congressman Harry Roque," Ubial told ANC.
Winston Q8 processed the health certifications of Kuwait-bound overseas Filipino workers.
Roque said 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.
Ubial denied this allegation, saying it was during her term as health secretary when Winston Q8 and the clinics where it referred its clients were closed down.
"I was the only health secretary that closed down the clinics where Winston Q8 referred their patients," she said, adding that the closure order from Garin was never implemented.
"When I came in, I thought Winston Q8 stopped operating because there was an order from the former health secretary, then I found out in September that they were still operating. I made another issuance order for them to close down. Unfortunately, I think that also was not implemented because at that time, our director for the Health Facilities Regulations Bureau was actually dismissed from service because of an Ombudsman case," Ubial explained.
In a press conference Wednesday, the House minority bloc claimed Winston Q8 may be funding the Maute terrorist group and other extremists in Mindanao.
Hussein Al-Dhafiri, a suspected Islamic State member who was arrested in Taguig in March and deported 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.