Gordon welcomes calls to continue Senate probe on COVID-19 procurement deals

Gordon welcomes calls to continue Senate probe on COVID-19 procurement deals

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Richard J. Gordon today welcomed the mounting calls
for government officials to cooperate with the ongoing Senate’s probe
into the alleged anomalous procurement of medical supplies and
equipment for the country’s COVID-19 response.

Gordon, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said he is taking
heed of the calls to pursue the Senate investigation to the fullest
extent of the law and ferret out the truth behind the alleged
anomalies in the government’s COVID-19 response.

“Our business, church, academe, and medical leaders have spoken up.
We have to heed the advice of these major organizations and
personalities. Like them, it is also our foremost resolve to get to
the bottom of these anomalies and hold erring individuals accountable
for their sins to the Filipino people,” he said.

“We all owe it to our people, especially our healthcare workers, who
have suffered long enough during this pandemic. The Senate will not
renege on its duties to uncover the facts based on the evidence
presented to us,” he added.

Last Oct. 3, seven big business groups and six universities issued a
statement calling on the government to conduct their proceedings with
“integrity, transparency, and respect, and in compliance with our laws
and established procedures.”

These groups include the Management Association of the Philippines,
Makati Business Club, Shareholders Association of the Philippines,
Judicial Reform Initiative, Financial Executives Institute of the
Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University and its affiliate schools,
and De La Salle Philippines.

Other groups have also issued a similar statement of support to the
Senate investigation. Among them are St. Paul University Manila, San
Beda High School Batch 1962, and Vinzons Policy Center, among others.

Last Oct. 2, convenors of the pro-democracy coalition 1Sambayan also
denounced Duterte’s order barring his Cabinet officials from attending
the Senate investigation into the deals the Procurement Service –
Department of Budget and Management entered with Pharmally
Pharmaceutical Corporation.

Gordon, a lawyer by profession, said he and other senators are
affording with due respect and courtesy the resource persons who are
invited to explain their role in the alleged anomalous government
procurement transactions.

“We respect Cabinet members asked to appear before the Senate,
including those executives of companies involved in these
transactions. I expect all resource persons to speak the truth and not
hide behind their lies and evasive answers,” he said.

Mr. Duterte has earlier ordered members of the executive branch not to
attend the Senate hearings and directed the Philippine National Police
and Armed Forces of the Philippines not to cooperate with the Senate
in implementing its orders.

During the recent Senate probe, the PS-DBM was questioned for
purportedly favouring Pharmally Pharmaceutical in the COVID-19
response procurement deals despite its questionable financial,
technical and legal capacity.

The government through the PS-DBM purportedly purchased face masks
from Pharmally at P27.50 a piece, double than the price offered by the
local manufacturer. (ai/mtvn)

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