Go urges Pharmally, DBM officials to face ongoing probe on COVID funds misuse

Go urges Pharmally, DBM officials to face ongoing probe on COVID funds misuse

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged all those who
have been summoned to appear in the continuing Senate Blue Ribbon
Committee inquiry into the use of COVID-19 funding to come forward and
face the probe.

In a statement, Go said they should face the investigation if they
have nothing to hide, “they have nothing to fear.”

Earlier, the Senate summoned officials of the controversial Pharmally
Pharmaceutical Corporation allegedly owned by Michael Yang, the former
presidential adviser.

“Nananawagan din po ako sa lahat, dapat na lumabas na po sila to shed
light, para maklaro po sa publiko. Lalung-lalo na po yung mga kakilala
ni Pangulong (Rodrigo) Duterte,” said Go in an interview recently.

Go is also alluding to Michael Yang, a former adviser to President
Rodrigo Duterte who is allegedly linked to Pharmally Pharmaceutical
Corp., a business entity which is involved in billion-peso pandemic
response contracts last year.

“Hindi naman po dini-deny ni Pangulong Duterte na 1999 pa niya
kakilala si Michael Yang. Pero hindi ibig sabihin kakilala na niya
noong 1999 ay papayagan na po ni Pangulo na gumawa ng kalokohan,” Go
said.

“In fact, noong pumunta ‘yan si Michael Yang ng Davao City noon, unang
ginawang warning ni Pangulong Duterte sa kanya ‘pag pumasok ka sa
droga dito kita ililibing. So ibig sabihin, hindi po papayag si
Pangulong Duterte na mayroong kalokohan — na papasok sa kalokohan
kahit na kaibigan, kahit na tumulong sa kanya. Hindi po siya papayag
anumang kalokohan,” Go shared.

Malacañang had already dismissed allegations of wrongdoing in the
procurement of reportedly overpriced medical supplies for the COVID-19
pandemic, which is currently being investigated by the Senate, as
contained in the initial findings of the Commission on Audit. COA
earlier clarified that its preliminary findings do not indicate
missing funds but only purported inefficient use of the same.

On August 31, Go emphasized in his privilege speech that culprits who
are proven to be complicit in any wrongdoing should be brought to
justice. He did underscore, however, that due process must be
followed.

“Ako po, sinabi ko na rin sa inyo sa aking privilege speech, parati
kong sinasabi ‘pag may kalokohan ay kasuhan, panagutin. Pero bigyan po
natin ng due process, ‘yung totoo lang po, ‘yung totoo lang po.
Lalung-lalo na po sa mga taong nagtatrabaho naman ng matino,” said Go.

“Pero ‘pag napatunayang may kasalanan, kasuhan. Kaya tayo mayroong
Ombudsman at mayroon tayong Sandiganbayan at kung napatunayan ay dapat
pong ikulong,” he added.

Go then stated that the country’s judicial system must be trusted,
assuring the public that he and Duterte will not allow anyone who
engages in corruption or other transgressions to not be held
accountable for their actions.

“Sana naman po magtiwala tayo sa ating judicial system. Kasuhan po
kaagad ‘pag may kasalanan,” he said.

“Hindi po kami papayag ni Pangulong Duterte, hindi po namin
kinukunsinti kahit sino pa man po, kahit sino ka pa, kahit saan ka
nanggaling, kahit taga-Davao ka pa. ‘Pag pumasok ka sa kalokohan, yari
ka talaga,” Go assured.

Go reiterated his appeal for people with knowledge or involvement of
the transactions being questioned and have been called to appear in
the probe to come forward and speak up if they have nothing to hide.

“Dapat nga po silang lumabas at magsalita rin po sa Blue Ribbon kung
wala po silang kinakatakot,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Go also lambasted those who are accusing the administration
of “premeditated plunder” even without evidence and conclusive facts.

He said that the timing of such allegations is suspect given that the
Executive branch has been transparent with its use of COVID-19 funds.

“It is about timing eh. Hindi rin naman po ako sang-ayon na sabihin na
itigil po ‘yung pagdinig. Ako po’y bilang inyong senador, interesado
po ako sa kung ano na po ‘yung takbo ng COVID response ng ating bansa,
dahil nakataya dito ang buhay po ng bawat Pilipino. Bawat araw, bawat
minuto na tumatakbo, buhay rin po ang kapalit dito,” Go said.

“Pero ang importante lang po para sa akin dapat po’y maging
pantay-pantay para naman po hindi matakot ‘yung ating mga government
employees na gumalaw dito sa COVID response at tumulong sa kapwa dahil
takot na po sila na maaari silang husgahan kaagad nang hindi pa sila
nakakasagot,” he pointed out.

He explained that legislators could have raised concerns early on
regarding the transactions being investigated now, particularly the
involvement of the Department of Budget and Management – Procurement
Service (PS-DBM) in the purchase of PPEs.

Go cited that these have been included in the regular report of the
Executive branch to the Joint Oversight Committee of the Legislative
branch as required by the Bayanihan 1 and 2 laws.

“Noong inaprubahan po ang Bayanihan 1 and 2, ‘di ba mayro’n pong
oversight function ang Lehislatura… So ang tanong ko lang po,
nagkaroon naman po ng monthly (and even weekly) reporting ‘yung
paggamit po ng pondo mula sa Office of the President na isinusubmit po
sa Senado… Hindi ba dapat nasilip na kaagad ito noong panahong ‘yon?,”
Go pointed out.

“Hindi ‘yung panahon ngayon na papunta na tayo sa election. Eh, lahat
naman tayo interesado kung nagamit ba ‘yung Bayanihan 1 at 2 sa tama.
Kaya nga po ni-require ang Office of the President na mag-report… kung
papaano po nagamit ‘yung pondo,” he added. (ai/mtvn)

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