Duterte says Senate probe on pandemic deals 'waste of time,' warns campaign vs Gordon

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 14 2021 12:48 PM | Updated as of Sep 14 2021 04:22 PM

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MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte fanned his feud with Sen. Richard Gordon, saying he would "campaign against" the lawmaker leading the inquiry into government's pandemic transactions. 

Duterte said Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, "has forever lost his credibility" for supposedly listening to dismissed policeman Eduardo Acierto, who linked the President's former adviser Michael Yang to the narcotics trade. 

Yang allegedly has ties to Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corp., which bagged some P8.6 billion in government contracts, including those related to the supply of supposedly overpriced anti-COVID masks and face shields. 

"[Gordon] in cahoots with criminals and ‘yong fabricated stories," Duterte said in a taped speech that aired on Tuesday.

"I would just like also to remind Senator Gordon na I will campaign against you for being unfit to be a senator of this republic," said the President. 

The Senate, he said, subpoenas more than a hundred resource persons in its hearings, more than half of whom are from government. 

"Instead of working, they are stuck attending hearings that last for more than 5 hours," said Duterte. "Tama ba ‘yang ginagawa ninyo? Are you crazy?"

(Is what you are doing right?)

"It's a waste of time," he said of the probe. 

The President reiterated government's pandemic deals "were done in accordance with law, even the pricing." 

"Para sa akin, tapos na kami. Iyang Pharmally ninyo pati droga, bahala kayo, wala akong pakialam n'yang Pharmally... You can crumple Pharmally, wala kaming pakialam d'yan," Duterte said. 

(For me, we are done. That Pharmally of yours and the drugs, that's on you, I do not care about that Pharmally. You can crumple Pharmally, we do not care about that.)

"Ang pakialam namin, nag-order kami, dumating, tama 'yong order ta's ang presyo negotiated," he added. 

(What we care about is we ordered, it arrives, the order was correct, and the price was negotiated.)

But based on the Senate committee probe, there were supplies that arrived ahead of the purchase order, among other dubious transactions.