Lower House to pursue OCTA probe

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2021 09:44 PM

MANILA - The House of Representatives will pursue its investigation on the OCTA Research Group's credentials as soon the requirements are made, a lawmaker said Monday.

According to DIWA Party-List Rep. Michael Aglipay, chair of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, a formal inquiry into OCTA's credentials will commence as soon as House Resolution 2071, which urges the panel to conduct the probe, will be referred to the committee.

But due to the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, the resolution has not yet been referred. The House suspended its plenary sessions due to the 2-week ECQ.

"As soon as a referral is made, we will act on it right away," Aglipay said.

Committees are empowered by the House rules to conduct motu propio investigations on any matter within its jurisdiction upon a majority vote of all its members, provided that the committee shall first seek authority from the Committee on Rules to proceed with their motu proprio inquiry.

The HR 2071 was earlier filed by lawmakers Bernadette Herrera Dy, Stella Quimbo, Sharon Garin, Kristine Singson Meehan and Jesus Suntay to look into the background of the people behind OCTA Research and their funding.

The OCTA group—composed of doctors, researchers and professors from different universities—has been making projections on COVID-19 cases in the Philippines based on data from the Department of Health since the pandemic began.

The proposed probe into the group was earlier criticized by Sen. Richard Gordon for allegedly having "dubious motives and questionable" amid the COVID-19 crisis in the Philippines.

But Aglipay said his colleagues at the House want to ascertain the credentials and background of the research unit.

“I as chair don't want to prejudge the motives of the authors or merits of the subject of inquiry since I will be like a judge or prosecutor that will judge this with my findings and recommendations thru my committee report," he said.

The House is expected to resume plenary sessions on August 23.

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