By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon urged Malacanang
to heed the call of the country’s medical experts and former health
secretaries “not to obstruct” the Blue Ribbon investigation into the
anomalous transactions involving COVID-19 medical supplies.
“The whole nation is watching. I call on the executive to listen to
the people and heed the call,” Drilon stressed.
“May prescription na po ang mga doctor: let’s follow the doctors’
prescription and allow an unimpeded Senate investigation into the
PS-DBM anomalous transactions,” he said.
“I laud and fully support the call of our frontline medical doctors. I
thank the members of the medical profession for supporting our efforts
in the Senate to ferret out the truth in the PS-DBM – Pharmally
transactions,” Drilon added.
In issuing what they called a ‘collective expression of indignation
and a call to action’, around 300 past and present members of the
Philippine College of Physicians and other medical professionals
called on the President “not to obstruct the testimony of material
witnesses to any investigation.”
Drilon noted that both the members of the legal community and the
medical profession have voiced out support for the Senate
investigation and called out the President’s directive.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines had earlier issued a statement
urging the President to reconsider his order.
The President had earlier issued a memo prohibiting Cabinet officials
from attending the Senate probe on the government’s procurement of
allegedly overpriced pandemic supplies last year from Pharmally.
Drilon had earlier called the order “unconstitutional” citing Supreme
He cited, for instance, the Senate v. Ermita (G.R. No. 169777, April
20, 2006) where the Supreme Court ruled that when the inquiry in which
Congress requires their appearance is in aid of legislation, the
appearance is mandatory.
It was Drilon, as Senate President in 2005, that brought the case to
the Supreme Court after then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued
the controversial Executive Order 464 to prevent executive officials,
cabinet members, and military officers from appearing before the
Senate inquiry into the anomalous North Rail Project. (ai/mtvn)