Duterte says he only wanted Galvez, Duque out of Senate hearings
MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out anew at Senator Richard Gordon for launching an investigation against Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp., and clarified he never said he was in favor of the embattled firm.
In an interview with Secretary Martin Andanar, Duterte said he was only "appealing" to senators to keep Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. away from the Blue Ribbon Committee's hearings as to not disrupt their workflow.
"Itong si Gordon, he was mixing up everything. I never, never said a word 'in favor' of Pharmally. But I was adamant and insistent na the Senate should not waste the time of Galvez and Duque because their work was critical... at that time," the chief executive said.
Duterte in October released a memo banning officials of the executive department from attending the Senate probe.
In the panel's report, senators sought charges against Duque for allegedly violating the Plunder Law and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Duterte, on the other hand, "betrayed public trust" as he continued to defend the personalities "close to him" who are also linked in the deals, the senators claimed.
"At that time, Duque was always at the airport receiving the vaccines, either bought or donated... or supervising the transport. Ito naman si Gen. Galvez was working for vaccines on the outside," the chief executive explained.
"Ang problema, pinapabalik nila nang pinapabalik. I said you crush Pharmally... crumple them, do whatever you want with them, just don't waste the time of these 2 guys because they are needed," he added.
Duterte clarified that he was not supporting any personalities involved in Pharmally. His former economic adviser Michael Yang has links with the anomalous deals, senators earlier said.
But the President acknowledged former budget undersecretary Christopher Lloyd Lao as his fraternity brother and a member of his campaign team before being appointed to government.
"I never said a word in favor of Pharmally. I was adamant on 'wag ninyong sayangin kasi papuntahin yan minsan si Galvez, not only twice but many times," he added.
Gordon described the anomalous transactions as "premeditated" and alleged that they had the approval of Duterte.
Pharmally bagged P8.68-billion worth of contracts with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) despite having a paid-up capital of only P625,000 in 2019, senators said.