Lacson throws full support behind continued probe into overpricedmedical supplies

Lacson throws full support behind continued probe into overpriced
medical supplies

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Saturday reaffirmed his full
support behind the Senate continuing its investigation into
irregularities in the government’s procurement of medical supplies to
address the COVID-19 pandemic – even as he expects one hearing is not
enough to complete the probe.

Lacson said the investigation is not targeting President Rodrigo
Duterte or any other personality, but aims to get to the bottom of the
corruption hounding the P42-billion transfer of funds from the
Department of Health to the Department of Budget and Management
Procurement Service.

“Ang concern namin ay ang issues na lumalabas. Kaya sabi ko basta
tungkol sa inquiry, sinusuportahan namin nang lubos ang chairman ng
Blue Ribbon Committee (Our concern revolves around the issue of
corruption. That is why I said that as far as the inquiry looking into
irregularities, we support the chairman of the Blue Ribbon
Committee),” he said in an interview on DWIZ radio.

“May lumalabas, in spite of resource persons’ refusal to cooperate,
unti-unti naliliwanagan natin ang story behind paglipat ng P42 bilyon
ng DOH sa PS-DBM (In spite of the resource persons’ refusal to
cooperate, the facts are slowly emerging on the transfer of P42
billion from the DOH to the PS-DBM),” he added.

He said some of the most recent findings, including the purchase by
Pharmally executives of expensive vehicles after bagging contracts
with the government, maybe considered circumstantial evidence.

“Agad-agad parang napakaraming pera. That would buttress suspicions
ang laki ng kinita nila (It seemed they got so much instant money to
spend. That would buttress suspicions that they made a windfall),” he
said.

“Yan pag pinagtagpi-tagpi mo may overprice. Kung wala, wala silang
pambili ng sasakyan agad-agad (If you piece together the
circumstances, there are signs of overprice. Otherwise, they would not
have money to buy such expensive vehicles),” he added.

On the other hand, Lacson said one more hearing may not be enough to
finish the investigation. The Blue Ribbon panel has scheduled another
hearing for Tuesday, Sept. 21.

“I don’t think one more hearing will be sufficient para makita ang
ibang issues na kalakip nito… Maraming lumalabas na information.
Hindi pa nakatanong karamihan na senador. Marami pang gusto tanungin
(I don’t think one more hearing will be enough to thresh out the
issues. There is so much information coming out. And not all senators
have had their turn to ask questions),” he said.

Lacson also debunked insinuations that politics is behind the
investigation, saying the Senate has already been investigating
irregularities in various issues in aid of legislation.

He belied as well claims that the Commission on Audit already
clarified there is no corruption in the procurement, saying the COA’s
mandate is to audit and not investigate possible corruption.

Meanwhile, Lacson reiterated that the Executive Department should be
one with the Senate in going after corruption, saying the Senate probe
is not after any particular person but is after corruption – which the
President himself said he wants to eradicate.

“The investigation is targeting not personalities but the issue of
corruption. After all, we are all after the same thing – to be
anti-corruption,” he said. (ai/mtvn)

Leave a Reply